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Chapter

Cover Criminal Law Directions

13. Defences I: incapacity and negating the elements of the offence  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. Questions, diagrams, and exercises help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress. This chapter discusses the following general defences: infancy, insanity, automatism, intoxication (involuntary and voluntary), and mistake. Children under the age of ten are conclusively presumed incapable of committing a criminal offence. Insanity (insane automatism) is concerned with the defendant’s mental condition at the time of the offence. Automatism is available where the defendant suffers a total loss of control or is unaware of what he is doing. Involuntary intoxication may be a defence to any offence if the defendant does not have the mens rea for that offence. Voluntary intoxication is no defence to a basic intent offence. A mistake as to civil law may negate the mens rea of an offence.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Criminal Law

R (Monica) v DPP [2018] EWHC 3508 (QB), Queen’s Bench Division  

Essential Cases: Criminal Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in R (Monica) v DPP. The document also included supporting commentary from author Jonathan Herring.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Criminal Law

R (Monica) v DPP [2018] EWHC 3508 (QB), Queen’s Bench Division  

Essential Cases: Criminal Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in R (Monica) v DPP. The document also included supporting commentary from author Jonathan Herring.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Criminal Law

R v Melin [2019] EWCA Crim 557, Court of Appeal  

Essential Cases: Criminal Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in R v Melin [2019] EWCA Crim 557, Court of Appeal. The document also included supporting commentary from author Jonathan Herring.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Criminal Law

R v Melin [2019] EWCA Crim 557, Court of Appeal  

Essential Cases: Criminal Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in R v Melin [2019] EWCA Crim 557, Court of Appeal. The document also included supporting commentary from author Jonathan Herring.

Chapter

Cover Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law

7. Excusatory Defences  

This chapter discusses ‘excusatory’ defences. These are defences that are concerned with absence of fault or culpability in a broader sense than is understood by a ‘fault element’ when such an element is included in the definition of an offence. Even when an accused person (say) intended to harm another person, and thus possessed the fault element in the definition of the crime, he or she may still be all but blameless if, for example, what was done was done only because he or she would be killed if the action was not undertaken. In that regard, the chapter covers duress and coercion, reasonable mistake, and ‘putative’ defences. The ‘defence’ of intoxication is also tackled here, even though it is not really an excuse in the sense just explained.

Chapter

Cover Smith, Hogan, and Ormerod's Criminal Law

9. Mental conditions, intoxication and mistake  

David Ormerod and Karl Laird

This chapter considers the most commonly occurring ‘mental condition defences’, focusing on the pleas of insanity, intoxication and mistake. The common law historically made a distinction between justification and excuse, at least in relation to homicide. It is said that justification relates to the rightness of the act but to excuse as to the circumstances of the individual actor. The chapter examines the relationship between mental condition defences, insanity and unfitness to be tried, and explains the Law Commission’s most recent recommendations for reforming unfitness and other mental condition defences. It explores the test of insanity, disease of the mind (insanity) versus external factor (sane automatism), insane delusions and insanity, burden of proof, function of the jury, self-induced automatism, intoxication as a denial of criminal responsibility, voluntary and involuntary intoxication, dangerous or non-dangerous drugs in basic intent crime and intoxication induced with the intention of committing crime.

Chapter

Cover Criminal Law

3. Mens rea  

Michael J. Allen and Ian Edwards

Course-focused and contextual, Criminal Law provides a succinct overview of the key areas on the law curriculum balanced with thought-provoking contextual discussion. Mens rea refers to the mental element necessary for a particular crime. This may differ from one crime to another and the definition of each crime must be examined to determine what state of mind is required. This chapter discusses the meaning of intention, knowledge, recklessness, wilfulness, direct intent, oblique intent, ulterior intent, transferred malice, and mistake. These mens rea topics raise important questions about the extent to which a person is responsible and therefore deserving of blame and punishment. A revised and updated ‘The law in context’ feature examines critically the debates between those who favour subjectivist and objectivist approaches to mens rea, with particular reference to reform of the offence of unlawful act manslaughter.

Book

Cover Complete Criminal Law

Janet Loveless, Mischa Allen, and Caroline Derry

Complete Criminal Law offers a student-centred approach to the criminal law syllabus. Clear explanations of general legal principles are combined with fully integrated extracts from leading cases and a wide range of academic materials. This text aims to engage the reader in an active approach to learning and to stimulate reflection about the role of criminal law, offering a complete guide to the LLB/GDL criminal law syllabus with extracts from key cases, academic materials, and explanatory text integrated into a clear narrative. It provides a range of pedagogical features, including concise summaries, diagrams, and examples. Thinking points are included to facilitate and reinforce understanding. Students are referred to the social and moral context of the law, wherever relevant, to encourage them to engage fully with the topical subject matter. This new edition includes coverage of several recent cases of importance including: R v Aidid [2021] (voluntary intoxication), Barton and Booth [2020] (dishonesty), Broughton [2020] and Long, Bowers and Cole [2020] (involuntary manslaughter), Damji [2020] (strict liability: reasonable excuse), Dawson [2021] and Singh [2020] (loss of control), DPP v M [2020] (defence of compulsion), Ivor and Others v R [2021], Lawrance [2020], and Attorney-General’s Reference (Section 36 of the CJA 1972) (No 1 of 2020) [2020] (sexual offences), Lanning and Camille [2021] (joint venture: overwhelming supervening act), Martins [2021] (appropriation in robbery), MS [2021] (proximity in attempt), Pwr v DPP [2022] (strict liability), Thacker and others [2021] (necessity: political protest), Williams (Demario) [2020] (self-defence: defence of property) and the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 (coercive control, strangulation, consent).

Chapter

Cover Criminal Law Concentrate

14. Defences I  

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. Concentrates show you what to expect in a law exam, what examiners are looking for, and how to achieve extra marks. This chapter examines the defences of age, insanity, automatism, intoxication, and mistake. If D is under the age of ten, he is deemed incapable of criminal liability. Insanity is where D proves he had a disease of mind which caused a defect of reason so that D did not know the nature and quality of his act or that it was wrong. Non-insane automatism is an assertion by D that the prosecution cannot prove the actus reus of the offence because D was not in control of his muscular movements. Intoxication rarely succeeds as a defence. Involuntary intoxication is a defence if D does not form mens rea. Voluntary intoxication is a defence only if D is charged with a specific intent crime and D did not form mens rea. Mistake is a defence provided the mistake prevents D forming mens rea.