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Law Aqa A2 Unit 3 Model Answer

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June 2013 LAW UNIT 3 EXAM

Discuss the possible criminal liability of Niccy for the murder of Owen, and the possible criminal liability of Paul for the murder of Steve. (25 marks)


The actus reus of murder is the unlawful killing of a reasonable person in being under the Queen’s peace and within the jurisdiction of the Crown Court, with malice aforethought, expressed or implied. In this case, the actus reus of murder is present, as she stabbed Owen unlawfully. Niccy is the factual cause of Owen’s death, as 'but for' her actions he wouldn’t have died - as seen in the case of White. She is also the legal cause because she was more than the minimal cause, as demonstrated in the case of Pagett.
The mens rea of murder is malice aforethought, which includes express malice - the intention to kill, or implied malice - intention to cause serious GBH. Niccy had the mens rea for murder, because she intended to kill Owen; she claimed he “must be eliminated”. She also had clear actus reus as she was the sole cause of his death. Therefore she could be liable for Owen's murder.

Paul could also be liable for the murder of Steve, as he had the clear actus reus to cause serious harm to Steve. The jury would have to decide whether Paul had the intention for murder, as it is a specific intent crime and the scenario states that Paul only intended to break Steve’s arm. The jury would be able to find the necessary intention if the consequences of Paul’s actions were virtually certain and that Paul knew this, as seen in Nedrick and Woolin. It is foreseeable that if you attack someone with a hammer there could be fatal results, and Paul would have known this, so it is likely that the jury would find the necessary intention. Therefore Paul has implied malice because he intended to cause GBH by wanting to break Steve’s arm. Therefore, Paul could be…...

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