MURDER • How to describe and apply murder in a scenario style A level question.
Identify the offence of murder • Murder is the unlawful killing of a person in being within the Queen’s peace with malice aforethought. • Murder is a common law offence with a mandatory life sentence if found guilty.
Define/describe the actus reus and the mens rea • ‘A person in being’ is neither a feotus (A-G’s ref no.3 of 1994) nor a person who is brain dead ( R v Malcherek). • ‘Under the queen’s peace’ means that killing an enemy in wartime is not murder however a royal marine who killed a wounded prisoner was found guilty of murder ( see case of Sgt Alex Blackman). • The mens rea is m_________ a___________ • This means either intent to _____ or intent to do_____ ( R v V_________) intent can be either direct or indirect oblique intent. Direct in the case of Mohan is a decision by the defendant to bring about the outcome. Indirect is assessed by a two part test established in the cases of (Nedrick, where a man set fire to a house and a child died in the fire) and (Woollin, where a man caused the death of his baby by throwing it towards a pram). Indirect intent is where the outcome is a virtual certainty, and the defendant knows this. IN Matthews & Alleyne it was said Indirect intent is only evidence for the existence of intent but is not intent itself.
Application of ‘unlawful killing…’ murder ACTUS REUS • V is a person in being and this killing is not in wartime. • ‘But for’ Dpushing Vat the top of the stairs she would not have fallen and broken her neck and died. • “BUT for (White / Pagett) …….. Intervening act… blah blah blah action of victim blah blahblah not reasonable and proportionate etc (Roberts / William & Davies) --- OR doctor was negligent BUT acts of D still the operative and substantial cause blah, blah (Smith / Jordan) OR had a rare condition blah, blah, (R v Blaue) OR switching off life support (Malcherek, Airedale NHS Trust v Bland) blah blah blah…… DIED”
Application of ‘malice aforethought’ MENS REA • Dhad direct intent because killing him/her was his/her purpose or aim (Mohan).. We know Dwanted to kill her because it was D’’s aim..… OR it is a virtual certainty she would die from his actions and he knew that…. (Nedrick / Woollin) • Dhad direct intent to do GBH, it was his/her purpose because…… OR s/he had indirect (oblique)intent to do GBH because…. [ egtripping someone at the top of a staircase and causing them to fall]… is virtually certain to cause really serious harm (GBH)and he would have known this (Nedrick, Woollin).