Mcdonald V Mcdonald

2020 Words9 Pages


In order for criminal liability to be placed, an accused must not only commit a specific act but also a breach of a duty concerned1. This concept was brought to the forefront in the case of R v McDonald and McDonald St R Qd [1904] 151.

The Supreme Court of QLD2 was called to consider the case of Angus and Flora McDonald, appealing against joint charges of Wilful Murder. The appellants were found to have breached laws respectful to s13 The Children’s Protection Act [1896]4 and sections 2855, 2866, 301 and 302 of The Criminal Code . The case was significant in
…show more content…
Hewer provided to the court evidence of abuse, and neglect. The deceased had broken bones, sores, disorganised right wrist and emaciation.
A McDonald and F McDonald were subsequently charged in breach of The Children’s Protection Act1 and The Criminal Code. Power J and the jury found the accused charged with wilful murder and sentenced to death. It was then brought to the Full Court for consideration of a number of points between the 5th and 10th of May 19042.

The following are the questions put forward for contention. Raised was whether evidence of a legal duty on behalf of the stepmother existed, and whether neglect of this duty caused or accelerated the death of G McDonald. Also it was questioned whether there was sufficient medical evidence to conclude neglect of duty as cause of death.
Power J also asked the presiding judges to consider the correctness of direction preluding to the duties imposed in particular on the father, to attend to the wants of the deceased and on failing to do so make both appellants guilty of murder or manslaughter. The final point of contention put forward involves the lack of medical assistance, namely whether it equated to neglect.


1 1896 (60 Vic, No.26).
2 R v McDonald and McDonald St R
Get Access