Explain How There Can Be Criminal Liability for an Omission. (7 Marks)

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Explain how there can be criminal liability for an omission. (7 marks) In UK law, there is generally no criminal liability for a failure to act. The exception to this principle is in situations where the defendant had a legal duty to take positive action, but failed in this duty. If a person has a contractual obligation to act, a failure to act could lead to criminal liability. Such as R v Pittwood (1902) in which Pittwood was a gatekeeper at a railway crossing and left the gate open. When someone crossed the track they were killed, Pitwood was charged for manslaughter because he was contractually obliged to close the gate. You have a duty of care to each of your family members meaning a failure to safeguard a family members welfare could lead to criminal liability. Such as in R v Gibbons and Proctor (1918) where a child was starved to death by her parents. Gibbons made out that Proctor was in charge of the child and didn’t know about her condition but the court convicted him on the grounds that he was the father and lived in the same house and should of noticed the condition she was in and had therefore neglected her. You also have a duty to minimise any danger you may have caused by a act. For example R v Miller (1983) in which Miller is a squatter in a house and accidentally catches his bed alight with a cigarette, he than just moved into another room without trying to stop the fire. He was found liable for the damage caused to the house because he had a chance to limit the damage. The other exceptions to the general rule are: * A duty arising from a statue. * Reliance or Voluntary Responsibility * A duty arising from a Public
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