Causation Essay

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1. Explain what is meant by causation. Causation is where a consequence has occurred and the prosecution is placed with the burden to prove that the defendant’s conduct was the factual cause of the consequence, the legal cause of the consequence and also, that there is no intervening act which broke the chain of causation. To establish causation it is necessary to firstly ask if the defendant caused the consequence of the offence. One way is to ask ‘but for the defendant’s action, would the consequence have occurred?’ 2. What are the two main principles in defining what causation is? Explain and evaluate both with reference to cases. The two main principles involved with causation includes factual causation and legal causation. Factual causation is established by applying the ‘but for’ test. The test ask the question ‘but for the actions of the defendant, would the victim have been harmed?’ This was seen in the case of R v Pagett 1983 where the defendant held his pregnant girlfriend captive. When confronted by police, the defendant used the victim as a shield and fired shots at the police who returned fire, killing the victim. He was acquitted of murder but was found guilty of manslaughter, amongst other offences. The defendant appealed the manslaughter conviction on the grounds that he could not be liable for the victim’s death as he did not physically kill her. It could be argued that the defendant was right as the victim had been killed by police bullets and not his own. The police officers involved were also negligent as they were accused of taking out the light in the hallway which left them unable to see that the victim was in front of the defendant. The police were found to be negligent and were ordered to pay civil compensation to the victim’s family. However, his appeal was rejected as the defendant’s unlawful and dangerous act directed against the
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