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(Lord Diplock in R v Miller)2 The actus reus and mens rea need to coincide, however the requirement is interpreted broadly. (Fagan v. Commissioner of Police3) In certain circumstances omissions can count as sufficient actus reus. One of the situation is where the conduct of the defendant created a situation of danger. (R v. Miller)4
The acts of Dot attract s.1(1) the actus reus of which requires a person destroying or damaging any property which belongs to another. The actus reus must be voluntary. (Woolmington v. DPP)5 The destruction or damage of the property must impair the value or usefulness of the property. (A v R)6. Such destruction or damaged must be without lawful excuse that is there is no honest belief on the part of the defendant that the owner consented to such destruction or damage. (Denton)7
In the current situation the actus reus of Dot was by way of an omission as he was the one who created the situation of danger. The next element in actus reus is that he of destruction or damage, clearly the fire had led to damage being caused to the shed. Clearly Dot did not have any lawful excuse to cause such destruction as he merely wanted such destruction so as to further the value of his property.
Dot acquired the intention of such destruction when he refrained to constrain the damage by letting the fire to grow and destruct the shed and therefore the mens rea of the offence would be proved. (Cunliffe v Goodman)9
Since the elements of actus reus and mens rea are proved it is pertinent to point to s.1(3) which states that destruction by fire would be charged as arson which, if proved, carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Furthermore such an offence is to be treated separately from criminal damage.(R v. Booth)10.
It is clear that the destruction caused was by fire and therefore Dot would be charged under arson. He clearly does not have any defence to
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