You will prepare and submit a term paper on Core Statutes on Criminal Law. Your paper should be a minimum of 3250 words in length. The premeditation element has also been altered and the courts are now able to find the accused guilty of murder if the prosecution can show that the accused intended to cause the victim serious bodily harm.
In determining whether the accused should be found guilty of murder juries are instructed to examine the foresight of the accused but should be told to consider what the accused actually foresaw as opposed to what he ought to have foreseen6 making the test of foreseeability a subjective test.
Recklessness has also been used in the courts to prove the intention of the accused. Cases such as R v Cunningham 7 and Metropolitan Police Commissioner v Caldwell 8 have demonstrated how recklessness can be used to prove a charge of murder. The approach taken by the courts in applying recklessness using the case of Cunningham was that the defendant was aware of the risk involved in his action yet continued in his venture. Caldwell widened the application by considering recklessness in situations where the accused either considered the risk to be minimal or that there was no risk at all. This notion was confirmed by Lord Keith in R v Reid 9 where he stated that ‘absence of something from a person’s state of mind is as much part of his state of mind as is its presence. Inadvertence to risk is no less a subjective state of mind than is a disregard of a recognized risk’.
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The use of manslaughter is usually applied where the intent of the accused is oblique. Oblique intent is where the accused is aware that his actions might cause the death of the victim but this is not what the accused desires to happen10. With direct intention, the accused actually wanted to kill the victim and the courts can invariably use the test for the foresight to support this assertion11.
The main aim of introducing a 3 tier system for murder is to give the courts the power to consider the actions of the accused when determining the level of charge12. At present, the courts only .have the power to accept a plea of manslaughter in cases where the direct intent element of the charge of murder cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. .