Murder Criticisms Essay

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Murder - CRITICISMS Introduction • Murder has existed since the 17th Century. • However, in 2006 the Law Commission Report stated that there are many problems with the current law on murder. Murder • Murder is a common law offence so it is not defined properly, • but in the 17th Century Lord Coke introduced a definition: “murder is the unlawful killing of a human being under the Queen’s peace with malice aforethought”. • The definition is too broad – a person may be convicted of murder even though he only intended to cause serious harm. Intention • Main problem is the meaning of ‘intention’ – caused problems in court. • ‘Intention’ exists in all specific intent offences. • There is no clear definition of ‘intention’ due to the bit by bit development of the law on murder. • Hancock & Shankland: there was no intention to kill; but by dropping a heavy block from a big height, there was a high risk that some damage will be done. • The main problem in the law is the foresight of consequences. The House of Lords has tried many times to explain foresight of consequences. • Moloney: established that foresight of consequences is not intention. • However, later in Woollin – made the law unclear – not clear whether intention is found from foresight of consequences or if intention is foresight of consequences. Actus Reus • In most cases where only the AR is taken into account, this is not enough to prosecute a person. • The current law on murder suggests that it is enough to convict a person for murder, regardless of their MR/intention. • But how does the law deal with a person who does not know their intention or had no intention to kill. • Moloney: not in right state of mind – under influence of alcohol – committed murder – had no MR as he was not in right state of mine – didn’t know what he was doing – difficult to establish whether guilty of

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