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Unit 4 [P1 M1] Essay

1741 words - 7 pages

Nathan finds out that his girlfriend Tanya has been having an affair. Rather than confronting her on this, Nathan decides to punish her by making her sick. He decides to poison her, and goes to his local hardware store and buys rat poison.

Nathan puts a small dose in Tanya's morning coffee, intending to give her a number of very small doses of poison in order to keep her sick for a few days (the amount he gives her is not enough to kill most people). However, Tanya is particularly sensitive to the rat poison, and collapses.

Tanya is taken to hospital by Nathan, who regrets what he has done. He does not tell the doctor what he has given her, and the doctor wrongly diagnoses her and ...view middle of the document...

In this letter I will discuss whether you had the Actus Reus and Mens Rea for Tanya's death and I will describe the meaning and the processes of how the court will see if they are present.

First, for murder to be present there must be a death to a human being. This occurs when the brain stem stops functioning and a human being must be a person who can independently take a breath once born on their own. If Tanya's brain stem has stopped working than she has not died as there is a chance of resuscitation; however, if her brain stem has stopped functioning than she will have died. Tanya is a human being as she was able to breathe while separate to her mother, on her own.

Actus Reus

The Actus Reus is the act of the crime this is the same for all homicide offences. The court will look to see if you have caused the death of the victim. This is usually very simple and the court has to see if there is Factual Causation and legal Causation present for Actus Reus to be considered.

Factual causation consists of the "but for” test and the De Minimus rule.

The "but for” test questions whether the victim; in this case Tanya, would have died at the same time without the defendant doing what they did. This means that if you didn't poison her, and lie to the hospital, would Tanya still be dead. For example in the case of White (1910) the defendant gave his mother poison but, before it had time to take effect, she died of a heart attack which wasn't caused by the poison. This shows that he is not liable for her death, as she still would have died of the heat attack without him poisoning her. In this situation you poisoned Tanya via her coffee, if you had not the act of poisoning Tanya then she would not have died and therefore you were the main reason for her death as she shouldn't have collapsed and gone to the hospital if she wasn't poisoned. In addition if you hadn't lies to the hospital then they would have given her the correct treatment and wouldn't have caused her death.

The de minimus rule look to see if the defendant actions were more than minimal cause of the victim's death. This suggests that when a person kills another they are speeding up the time of which the person would die; and so the defendant's actions which caused the acceleration of death must be more than trivial. In your case, you gave Tanya poison in her morning coffee as punishment and knew that it would cause harm to her. Therefore, the court would see that this is more than minimal cause as by poisoning her; she collapses and as a result goes to the hospital with causes her getting the wrong treatment. Furthermore, you lied to the Hospital which caused them to give her the wrong treatment and then die which again accelerated her death; this could be foreseen as lie to the hospital would result in the wrong treatment that may cause harm Tanya. Because of these points you pass the de minimus rule.

The legal causation, consists of was the original injury a...

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