Law, Fault Essay (Aqa)

2522 Words Feb 19th, 2016 11 Pages
Fault Essay (30 marks)
Fault can be defined as legal responsibility or blame for an offence or misdeed. It also refers to the mental state of the defendant. The basic principle is that a D should be able to contemplate the harm that his actions may cause and should therefore aim to avoid such actions.
In general, a person cannot be criminally liable and subjected to criminal sanctions unless it can be proved that he carried out an illegal act in a blameworthy manner. An act does not make a man guilty of a crime unless his mind is also guilty.
The state of mind of the D is hugely important in assessing whether or not he is at fault. However, to be found guilty of most criminal offences (true crimes) both an AR and MR must be proved. The
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There are a few absolute liability offences, so convictions like these are rare.
There is no liability for omissions to act, even if the D is morally at fault, for example, no by-stander can be compelled by law to save a drowning child. Exceptions to this general rule have been created where the law has imposed a duty to act. Pittwood and Miller. Generally a failure, such as in these cases, will be punished less severely than where a positive voluntary action has been committed.
Causation: in result of factual and legal causation must be established. In other words there will be no liability if the D did not cause the result White. The decision on whether the D is at fault may depend on which test for legal causation is used by the courts; a D may escape liability if the ‘daftness’ test in Roberts/Williams is applied, whereas the harsher thins skull rule in Blaue may result in liability as it involves taking your victim as you find him however daft or unpredictable they are. The MR is the mental or fault element of the crime and is of key importance in establishing fault. All of the non-fatal offences require proof of fault for a conviction. For a s.18 offence, direct intention Mohan (highest level of fault as it is deliberate) or oblique intention (lower level of fault as it was not the D’s aim, but the D appreciated the result was a virtual certainty Woollin) is required. This is because
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