‘Criminal Liability Based on a Defendant’s Omission to Act Is Essential Despite Creating an Uneasy Balance Between Public Policy and Legal Principle.’

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‘Criminal liability based on a defendant’s omission to act is essential despite creating an uneasy balance between public policy and legal principle.’ Discuss to what extent this statement is accurate. The Actus reus of a crime is the act that results in a criminal action. Criminal liability based on Omission is when someone can be liable when the actus reus is instead when the person does not do an act and then the result is that of a criminal consequence. There are four examples of statutory duties where statute law has made it possible for criminal liability through omission. One is stopping at a red traffic light set out in the Road traffic Act 1988. In this example the omission to stop at a red traffic light results in a criminal offence. Another example is to care for your own children. The omission to care for your children is a criminal act set out in S1 of the Children & Young Persons Act 1993. Also statute makes it a crime to allow the death of a child or vulnerable adult under S5 of the Domestic Violence and Crime and Victims Act 2004. Also, under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1993 Greener 1996 was convicted for failing to secure a dangerous dog. Common law sets out that a crime’s actus reus can be committed by failing to perform a contractual duty such as in Dytham 1979, and in Pittwood 1902. The actus reus can also be commited by omission when there is a close relationship, such as in Gibbins & Proctor 1918, and when there is a voluntary assumption of a duty, like in Instan 1893 and controversially Stone & Dobinson. The miller principle can also be grounds to convict on omission where the person has created the problem and not done enough to prevent a serious offence from occurring. This was set out in Miller 1983 and can be seen in Matthews & Alleyne and Santa Bermudez 2003. However, most crimes that can be committed by omission

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