Definition of Intention in Criminal Law

3042 Words13 Pages
The definition of Intention in criminal law is unclear. The true definition of intention is not very clear, as there are different definitions by different courts. The term ‘intention’ in criminal law has been defined as direct intention whereby a consequence is intended and desired by the defendant, and indirect (oblique) intentionwhereby the defendant can foresee a virtual certainty.Many seriouscrimes require the proof of intention or recklessness on the part of defendant, and in criminal proceedings, the court or jury must decide whether the accused has the intention or the ability to foresee the result of his actions by reference to all circumstances of the case. Thus, ‘intention’ can be classified as particular, general and…show more content…
The Court of Appeal can sometimes pay lip-service to s 8 and quash convictions because the jury were not clearly directed that the test of intention is subjective9. Nevertheless, originally an objective test was used to decide oblique intention in DPP v Smith10 which widened the MR of murder. The House of Lords held that the accused was guilty of murder for two reasons. Firstly, because death or grievous bodily harm was foreseen as a likely result of the accused’s unlawful act. Secondly, the accused was deemed to have foreseen the risk which a reasonable person in the position of the accused would have foreseen. The second ground for the House of Lords’ decision had been widely criticised as it introduced an objective element in the meaning of intention.11TheVickers12 has modified by DPP v Smith that the mental element in murder requires proof of an intention to kill or cause GBH, where the probability of foreseeing can be defined as exceeding a certain degree, is equivalent or alternative to the necessary intention. The Court of Appeal held that a defendant can be convicted of murder if it is established that he had intended to kill or create grievous bodily harm. In considering the construction of s1(1) [Homicide Act 1957], it can be said that an intention to cause GBH at least evidenced a willingness to
Get Access