Regina V. G and Another Case Brief

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Case Title: Regina v. G and another (Appellants) (On Appeal form the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division))
Citation: [2003] UKHL 50

Procedural History (PH):
The appellants were charged on 22nd August 2000; without lawful excuse damaged by fire; commercial premises and being reckless as to whether such property would be damaged. The appellants stood trial before Judge Maher in March 2001. The appellants’ case at trial was that they expected the fire to extinguish itself on the concrete. It was accepted that neither of them conceived that there was any risk of the fire spreading. At the start of the trial submissions were made on the meaning of “recklessness”. The judge ruled that he was bound to direct the jury in accordance with
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By the reasons given by Lord Bingham of Cornhill, with the support of Lord Browne-Wilkinson, Lord Steyn, Lord Hutton, and Lord Rodger of Earlsferry.

Rule(s) of Law:
1. Did the defendant damage by fire the building and the commercial premises?
The appellant did damage the building and commercial premises by fire. During the proceedings, the judge pointed out that there was no doubt in the appellants damaging the building and premises by fire.

2. Would the risk created by the defendant have been obvious to an ordinary, reasonable, bystander?
It is accepted that the reasonable bystander is an adult with no particular expertise with the common knowledge and reasoning capabilities. The jury agreed that the reasonable bystander would have been able to foresee the possibility of the fire spreading. Thus the appellants were convicted under standing test . The jury was inclined to accept that intention could be shown by proof of reckless disregard of an act perceived by the reasonable man as a risk.

3. Had the defendant given any thought to the possibility of there being a risk in doing what he did?
It was agreed on appeal that the boys did not foresee any risk of the fire spreading in the way it eventually did. Many leading academic writers on English criminal law have believe that the criminal law should punish people only for those consequences of their acts, which they foresaw at the relevant time.

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