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CRIMINAL LAW - Coursework Example

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Introduction This paper examines three questions that relate to criminal law. In each of the questions, there is an analysis of the main issues laid out in the requirements. This is followed by an evaluation of the relevant laws and cases that define the framework of the issues raised in English law…
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Download file to see previous pages... In the process, he releases a lion and a tiger. The lion then proceeds to kill a person nearby. The issue is whether the entry release of the dangerous animals and the subsequent killing renders Oscar liable for murder or not. In examining the murder, it is essential to evaluate if it leads to a liability of involuntary manslaughter or not. Rules In involuntary manslaughter, the actus reus is an unlawful and dangerous act. In R V Slingsby (1995), a woman died when a man conducted dangerous sexual acts on her. Although the defendant argued that it was an ordinary sexual act that had gone out of scope, it was held that he was guilty because the act was dangerous and unlawful. In R V Church (1965), the term 'dangerous' was interpreted to mean that it exposes another person to a risk of some harm. Based on this, if such an act is conducted, a person will be guilty of committing involuntary manslaughter. The mens rea of involuntary manslaughter is to commit an act that is obvious to every reasonable person as a dangerous act. In spite of this obvious indication, the defendant proceeded to commit that act. In DPP V Newbury and Jones (1976), the defendants were two teenage boys. They threw a piece of stone from a bridge into a passing train. This hit and killed a guard who was sitting in the driver's compartment. It was held that they had committed involuntary manslaughter because it was obvious to them as reasonable people that they undertook a dangerous act when they foresaw the consequences of their actions. Due to the nature of involuntary manslaughter, the most likely defence is diminished responsibility under section 2 of Homicide Act, 1957. This means that the defendant was suffering from an abnormal mind which caused him to fail to exercise willpower and committed such acts (R V Byrne 1960). Also, a person with a substantially impaired mental responsibility could be plead on the grounds of the impairment (R V Lloyd 1967). Application In this case, Oscar decides to go to the premises of Peter's circus. He did this and released the dangerous animals because he believed they were being ill-treated. In releasing the animals to prevent them from being 'ill-treated', he failed to realize that he was releasing them into a populated area where the animals could cause havoc to human beings. Releasing a lion and tiger was dangerous. Also, it is apparent that he did not seek the consent of Peter who is licensed to keep the animals under lock and key as a circus operator. This constitutes a trespass under Common Law and makes the act illegal. It should have been obvious to Oscar that an ill-treated lion or tiger was much better caged than released into the society. This is because if the caged lion or tiger is released in an urban centre, it would cause carnage and kill a lot of people. On the balance of probabilities, it should have occurred to him that releasing the animals could cost human lives. However, he did not take time to reconsider that. This makes it a valid mens rea for the commission of involuntary manslaughter. Conclusion In conclusion, Oscar committed the actus reus of unlawfully entering the premises of Peter and releasing dangerous animals that killed a human being. Also, he was negligent and did not think much about his actions. As such, he is guilty of manslaughter. Due to the circumstances, his only credible defence is to plead on the grou ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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