Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Causation - intervening act of a 3rd party - please help!! Watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hi! I was wondering if anyone could help me with this,

    A goes round to B's house, gets angry and stabs B in the chest and then runs away leaving the front door open, C chances upon the house, goes in and hits B over the head who subsequently dies. Medical evidence shows that while B was killed by the blow to the head, they had already suffered significant blood loss at that point.

    Does C break the chain of causation in this scenario? I'm really confused as I keep reading conflicting evidence, i'm not sure I have grasped the law on this area properly and I am struggling to understand whether A would be liable for the death or not.

    Any help would be really appreciated!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    C would be liable for the death. A did not cause the death in a factual sense, so they are liable for the GBH.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by D.R.E)
    C would be liable for the death. A did not cause the death in a factual sense, so they are liable for the GBH.
    No, I think that's wrong - (see my post below) - How do you know that A hasn't caused the death in the factual sense? When you're answering problem questions, you cannot invent facts.

    Also - A would not be liable for GBH - the victim died!!! You can't be convicted of GBH if your victim dies! GBH is a non-fatal offence!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Rainbow1992)
    Hi! I was wondering if anyone could help me with this,

    A goes round to B's house, gets angry and stabs B in the chest and then runs away leaving the front door open, C chances upon the house, goes in and hits B over the head who subsequently dies. Medical evidence shows that while B was killed by the blow to the head, they had already suffered significant blood loss at that point.

    Does C break the chain of causation in this scenario? I'm really confused as I keep reading conflicting evidence, i'm not sure I have grasped the law on this area properly and I am struggling to understand whether A would be liable for the death or not.

    Any help would be really appreciated!
    Hi I'm revising criminal at the moment, thought I'd help

    You have to first look at causation - was the actus reus attributable to A? He stabbed B in the chest. You also need to check whether by the time the third party intervened, whether or not A's contribution was still a significant and operating cause... I think we fulfill that criteria by the fact the medical evidence shows at the point of C's intervention, B had already lost a significant amount of blood.
    The case is similar to the principle laid down in Smith - if the defendant's original contribution is still significant and operating then regardless of other interventions, the defendant will be criminally liable.

    Apply Smith to this case! Then you could perhaps also mention how the chain of causation is NOT broken because of the criteria laid down in Jordan:

    (i) The original harm inflicted by D must no longer be contributing to the occurrence of the eventual outcome
    (ii) The relevant intervention by [third party] must be independent of the original wrongdoing by D.

    Hope this clears things up
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by lesbionic)
    No, I think that's wrong - (see my post below) - How do you know that A hasn't caused the death in the factual sense? When you're answering problem questions, you cannot invent facts.

    Also - A would not be liable for GBH - the victim died!!! You can't be convicted of GBH if your victim dies! GBH is a non-fatal offence!
    Erm, not be condescending or anything, but did you actually read the OP's post?

    Here is an important sentence you seem to have overlooked:

    Medical evidence shows that while B was killed by the blow to the head, they had already suffered significant blood loss at that point
    All that stuff you say in your other post about whether or not A's act was the 'operating and substantial' cause of death, is negated by that sentence; which funny enough is in the OP. You accuse me of 'creating facts' when you are in essence, answering a question you created yourself.

    Factually speaking (as stated by OP's medical evidence), A did not kill B, C did. It would be totally nonsensical to create legal 'causation' without a factual basis.

    Whether or not GBH is a fatal offence is irrelevant to the case at hand, because if A is acquitted of the Manslaughter charge, it would automatically go back to the stabbing ie the GBH.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by D.R.E)
    Erm, not be condescending or anything, but did you actually read the OP's post?

    Here is an important sentence you seem to have overlooked:



    All that stuff you say in your other post about whether or not A's act was the 'operating and substantial' cause of death, is negated by that sentence; which funny enough is in the OP. You accuse me of 'creating facts' when you are in essence, answering a question you created yourself.

    Factually speaking (as stated by OP's medical evidence), A did not kill B, C did. It would be totally nonsensical to create legal 'causation' without a factual basis.

    Whether or not GBH is a fatal offence is irrelevant to the case at hand, because if A is acquitted of the Manslaughter charge, it would automatically go back to the stabbing ie the GBH.
    Excuse me, but I'm reading law at KCL, what are you exactly? Oh yes, that's right, a sixth form university applicant

    When you do criminal law, the topic of causation and omissions will all become clear to you. I have used some specific case law to back up my argument; you have used none. The criminal law does not care about who 'factually' killed who sometimes, dear. This case is the best example of that. That's why we have to critique the law.

    There are conditions which have to be satisfied before the intervening behaviour can supersede the defendant's causal role.

    (1) The original harm must no longer be contributing to the occurrence of the eventual result. (in our case it is... so this is not satisfied)
    (2) The relevant intervention by the third party must be independent of the original wrongdoing by the defendant.


    The case of Smith, which I will repeat for your sake:

    V (victim) was stabbed by D (defendant) with a bayonet. His lung was pierced, but this injury went unrecognised by those who attended to him.
    He was dropped twice on the way to hospital where the doctor failed to diagnose the seriousness of his injuries and probably increased the risk of death. On appeal, it was held that where the original injury is still a significant and operating cause of death, then regardless of any contributing causes, the death can still be attributed to the original defendant.

    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by D.R.E)
    Whether or not GBH is a fatal offence is irrelevant to the case at hand, because if A is acquitted of the Manslaughter charge, it would automatically go back to the stabbing ie the GBH.
    No. You said before that A would be criminally liable for a GBH offence :confused: If A was acquitted of 'manslaughter' (which he wouldn't be, unless he has a very good excuse, but the case in hand leads one to presume he had the necessary intent, not to mention it wouldn't therefore be a charge of manslaughter it would be one of murder, but never mind...) then it wouldn't ''automatically go back to the stabbing'' - who has fed you this rubbish?

    It can't ''go back'' to the stabbing because the victim died! You can't be charged with a non-fatal offence where the victim dies, how is that not making sense? You can be charged with killing with intent to CAUSE GBH (murder) but in that scenario the victim dies!!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by lesbionic)
    x
    Yawn.

    Clearly, KCL's reputation for teaching Law is overstated, or (most likely) you're just a particularly bad student. Regardless, your attempt at an 'appeal to authority' is embarrassing at best; debate the issue, not the person.

    Anyway, you say you used case evidence, but what is more accurate is you used the wrong case evidence to support your already wrong judgement.

    You are mistaken at two points:

    1. Don't get too focused on words, when I say 'factually', I merely mean what actually caused B's death. As OP said in his post: B was killed by the blow to the head from C. Obviously, the court would have to consider how far the blood loss from A's initial stabbing, but the medical evidence has already put that discussion to rest.

    2. Smith is not relevant to this as you can obviously tell, since C's actions constitute a novus actus interviniens. Hence my assertion that A is only liable for the stabbing; as you have just pointed out here:

    (2) The relevant intervention by the third party must be independent of the original wrongdoing by the defendant.

    How you can say criminal law isn't interested in facts is beyond me really; but hey, I'm an A level applicant and you are the amazing KCL student right?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by lesbionic)
    No. You said before that A would be criminally liable for a GBH offence :confused: If A was acquitted of 'manslaughter' (which he wouldn't be, unless he has a very good excuse, but the case in hand leads one to presume he had the necessary intent, not to mention it wouldn't therefore be a charge of manslaughter it would be one of murder, but never mind...) then it wouldn't ''automatically go back to the stabbing'' - who has fed you this rubbish?

    It can't ''go back'' to the stabbing because the victim died! You can't be charged with a non-fatal offence where the victim dies, how is that not making sense? You can be charged with killing with intent to CAUSE GBH (murder) but in that scenario the victim dies!!
    Oh Jesus, it's simple: if A did not kill B, then what offence will be charged with? Whether or not the victim is dead is not important in this case since it is impossible to prove that A killed B. So the only offence the CPS can go for, is GBH, for the initial stabbing.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by D.R.E)
    Oh Jesus, it's simple: if A did not kill B, then what offence will be charged with? Whether or not the victim is dead is not important in this case since it is impossible to prove that A killed B. So the only offence the CPS can go for, is GBH, for the initial stabbing.
    What? That is by far and away one of the most ridiculous things I have read on this forum.

    READ THE PROBLEM QUESTION. V DIES. That really is the end of it. If your victim dies, you need to prosecute for murder, manslaughter etc.

    GBH is a non fatal offence and as such is reserved for offences where your victim does not die.

    You make so little sense. You've obviously read 'the law machine' and the other pre-university reading but believe me that's nothing compared to what you will learn. Please don't come online and pretend you know the law.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by D.R.E)
    Yawn.

    Clearly, KCL's reputation for teaching Law is overstated, or (most likely) you're just a particularly bad student. Regardless, your attempt at an 'appeal to authority' is embarrassing at best; debate the issue, not the person.

    Anyway, you say you used case evidence, but what is more accurate is you used the wrong case evidence to support your already wrong judgement.

    You are mistaken at two points:

    1. Don't get too focused on words, when I say 'factually', I merely mean what actually caused B's death. As OP said in his post: B was killed by the blow to the head from C. Obviously, the court would have to consider how far the blood loss from A's initial stabbing, but the medical evidence has already put that discussion to rest.

    2. Smith is not relevant to this as you can obviously tell, since C's actions constitute a novus actus interviniens. Hence my assertion that A is only liable for the stabbing; as you have just pointed out here:




    How you can say criminal law isn't interested in facts is beyond me really; but hey, I'm an A level applicant and you are the amazing KCL student right?
    Gosh you're still going? Under the pretence that you're a law student? If you act dumb and patronise someone senior to you and admittedly more well read in the subject, then expect to be patronised.

    By the way, it's a novus actus interveniens. C's actions were not a novus actus, that's what I'm trying to argue.

    To determine whether something is a novus actus there are principles set out by the case law.

    A novus actus will break the chain of causation. I already listed to you how the chain of causation isn't broken here.

    It's usually fun to argue legal points if the opponents are making a sensible case, but yours is so palpably stupid and wrong and factually incorrect that there's no point.

    You have no case law to state, no statutes. Stick to the applicants forum and when you learn more legal skills then you can help people with their assignments.

    The OP is a university student; please do them the decency of giving good legal advice.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by lesbionic)
    x
    So yeah, that's the crux of your argument? "I'm a university law student, therefore am correct in all counts by virtue of being at university!"

    I'm sorry, but I really do not want to get dragged into a mud-slinging match with you, which is why I'm maintaining a civil tone.

    I don't really need to throw around case law, or statute; cos frankly I can't be bothered to look it up; and secondly, if the OP is a university student, I'm guessing they already know the cases. Which is why I merely focused on the facts; unlike you, who is trying to twist the facts to fit whatever case you think fits your end.

    The medical evidence says the victim died from the blow from C, so what does that have to do with A?

    All you did in your supposed 'answers' is state a case, without relating it in any way to the actual scenario given in the slightest. You just make spurious connections with no real thought put into them; so please do forgive me if I fail to be impressed by your 'I'm a KCL student' shtick.

    If you had been more careful in your approach to me, and the question, this might've been a productive exchange, seeing as it is actually possible to argue that A's stabbing, and the blood loss resulting were an 'operating and substantial' cause; but in my opinion this would inaccurate as the blow to the head (as blows to the head can be) was the principal cause of death.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by D.R.E)
    The medical evidence says the victim died from the blow from C, so what does that have to do with A?
    If the law was so simple as that, then noone would need to study it.

    It has something to do with A because A's actions are still a significant and operating cause of death at the time of T's intervention.

    Whether you like that or not, that's the law. I sincerely hope you're not this insipid in real life. You don't see me trolling the economics forum giving people ludicrous and fictitious advice.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by lesbionic)
    If the law was so simple as that, then noone would need to study it.

    It has something to do with A because A's actions are still a significant and operating cause of death at the time of T's intervention.

    Whether you like that or not, that's the law. I sincerely hope you're not this insipid in real life. You don't see me trolling the economics forum giving people ludicrous and fictitious advice.
    Haha, well that is entirely up to you. As I said earlier, you have no need to attack me in any way; this is just a discussion about Law. Your point could've been made in a much less aggressive manner.

    I have no idea why in the world you are trying to act as if you have learned some kind of 'secret' Law that doesn't exist outside of KCL; fair enough, you have studied it more depth than I have, but that doesn't allow you to disregard simple facts. Yes, the law is very complicated; but the facts of this case are very simple: A did not kill B, C did. Yes, B was still bleeding when he died, but that is not what killed him. The primary cause is the blow from C. So the question is, which holds the most weight in a causative sense, the blow or the bleeding.

    Think of the case of White (1910); a man tried to poison his mother, she ingested said poison, but died of a heart complication; the D was acquitted of the Manslaughter, but guilty of an attempt. D was acquitted despite the fact that the poison was already working its way through the victim's body. Would you have him guilty of the Manslaughter despite the fact that he was not the cause of it, simply because he tried?

    This case, is in a factual sense, very similar to the OP's scenario; yes, A did attempt the killing, but his actions were not the cause of death, C's were. So, the only thing A is liable for, is the stabbing, which can be a GBH or an attempt - whatever takes your fancy.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Rainbow1992)
    Hi! I was wondering if anyone could help me with this,

    A goes round to B's house, gets angry and stabs B in the chest and then runs away leaving the front door open, C chances upon the house, goes in and hits B over the head who subsequently dies. Medical evidence shows that while B was killed by the blow to the head, they had already suffered significant blood loss at that point.

    Does C break the chain of causation in this scenario? I'm really confused as I keep reading conflicting evidence, i'm not sure I have grasped the law on this area properly and I am struggling to understand whether A would be liable for the death or not.

    Any help would be really appreciated!
    "Causation refers to the enquiry as to whether the defendant's conduct (or omission) caused the harm or damage. Causation must be established in all result crimes. Causation in criminal liability is divided into factual causation and legal causation. Factual causation is the starting point and consists of applying the 'but for' test. In most instances, where there exist no complicating factors, factual causation on its own will suffice to establish causation. However, in some circumstances it will also be necessary to consider legal causation. Under legal causation the result must be caused by a culpable act, there is no requirement that the act of the defendant was the only cause, there must be no novus actus interveniens and the defendant must take his victim as he finds him (thin skull rule).

    Factual causation is established by applying the 'but for' test. This asks, 'but for the actions of the defendant, would the result have occurred?' If yes, the result would have occurred in any event, the defendant is not liable. If the answer is no, the defendant is liable as it can be said that their action was a factual cause of the result. (R v White).

    Legal causation requires that the harm must result from a culpable act: (R v Dalloway).

    The defendant's action need not be the sole cause of the resulting harm, but it must be more than minimal- (R v Benge).

    There must be no novus actus interveniens.

    A novus actus interveniens is a new intervening act which breaks the chain of causation. Different tests apply to decide if the chain has been broken depending on the intervening party (relevant one here is 3rd party).

    Act of a third party: the act of a third party will generally break the chain of causation unless the action was foreseeable - (R v Pagett)." NB "Substantial Cause" (R v Cheshire)

    NB R v Smith is one of the 'medical intervention' cases.


    To the OP - my notes/books are old (three years) and there may be newer, more relevant case law, which you should have already given that you are currently studying criminal law, if you don't, look up the areas in bold in your books.

    Then ask for further clarification if you still do not understand what you are doing.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by D.R.E)

    Think of the case of White (1910); a man tried to poison his mother, she ingested said poison, but died of a heart complication; the D was acquitted of the Manslaughter, but guilty of an attempt. D was acquitted despite the fact that the poison was already working its way through the victim's body. Would you have him guilty of the Manslaughter despite the fact that he was not the cause of it, simply because he tried
    The case of White shows that D's contribution must be more than insignificant. D's behaviour must contribute in some significant way to its occurrence.
    In White, the poison had not taken effect by the time White's mother had suffered a heart attack. The poison played no role in her death.

    In this case, the facts make it clear that the victim had lost a significant amount of blood - examiners don't put facts like that in there for no reason. Hence why you're expected to pick up on them and apply cases such as Smith, Jordan, Michael etc. etc.

    You can't use White here.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by lesbionic)
    The case of White shows that D's contribution must be more than insignificant. D's behaviour must contribute in some significant way to its occurrence.
    In White, the poison had not taken effect by the time White's mother had suffered a heart attack. The poison played no role in her death.

    In this case, the facts make it clear that the victim had lost a significant amount of blood - examiners don't put facts like that in there for no reason. Hence why you're expected to pick up on them and apply cases such as Smith, Jordan, Michael etc. etc.

    You can't use White here.
    So was it that difficult to stop trying to insult me and actually engage in a useful discussion?

    Anyway, I wasn't approaching this as an exam question, I was more interested in the end result.

    As I said before, the argument that C was losing a lot of blood is applicable; but while it is arguable, your categorical attitude to the matter is incorrect in my opinion. The case against A would more or less hang on the question: 'Was the blood-loss the "operating and substantial" cause of B's death?' And I don't think it's possible to prove the 'yes' argument at all, seeing as the medical evidence states that B died from C's blow.

    Smith and Jordan, in my opinion, are completely off the topic since the refer specifically to how medical intervention.

    But as I said, there is an argument that the blood-loss played a role in the death. Which could possibly make A liable, but it seems to be almost impossible to prove. Obviously, if this were an answer to an essay, one would be obliged to argue both possible outcomes; but the other outcome seems too improbable to me.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I have to say that majoritively i agree with seven stars (and your case law is up to date).

    With regards to D.R.E and lesbionic, you are both wrong and both right in some ways.

    A GBH charge will not be applicable here but any of the following could be:

    1) Murder - in the Cheshire case – court of appeal shifted the point of focus away from the question whether the original wound was still an operating cause at the time of death to whether death was attributable to the acts of the accused. The severe loss of blood due to the stabbing and the leaving the door open could be attributable to the death of B. The final blow to the head made by C, although was the final cause of death, may not have been fatal had it not been for the loss of blood, allowing the arguement for murder to take place.

    2) Attempted murder or mansluaghter. If it is found that regardless of the loss of blood, B's blow to the head was the only cause, dependant upon the mens rea of the accused (A) would depend whether an ettmepted murder or manslaughter charge was appropriate.

    With regard to D.R.E's 'factual liability' he is correct in saying it must be establish. Both factual and legal liability are to be satisfied. However, the factual casuation is a but for test.
    But for A's actions would B have died? there are arguements for both, my advise to the OP is to argue both yes and No. conclude with what you think the outcome might be, but tehre is not need to make a final decision, just show that you know the law and can argue it well.

    to D.R.E and Lesbionic - i dont mean to be rude or patronising here but i see no need to come to a final conclusion. Such cases as these are decided by juries, although upon the guidance of a judge. It is not a law students aim to make a final decision that we are not equipped to make. could and perhaps are the words you should use, not definitives else you cut yourself short.

    You failed in advising the OP becasue you became too obssessed with your own ego to appreciate the arguements you both presented.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Wow, the audacity of lesbionic. There's clearly no need to be derogatory towards D.R.E.

    You have both cited case law to support your answer. Due to it's nature, you'll more than likely be able to use either of your approaches. Just make sure you cite relevant cases and explain in detail why you feel those cases are most suitable.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by kimbates)
    to D.R.E and Lesbionic - i dont mean to be rude or patronising here but i see no need to come to a final conclusion. Such cases as these are decided by juries, although upon the guidance of a judge. It is not a law students aim to make a final decision that we are not equipped to make. could and perhaps are the words you should use, not definitives else you cut yourself short.

    You failed in advising the OP becasue you became too obssessed with your own ego to appreciate the arguements you both presented.
    Yeah, I do apologise to the OP - and everyone else - for my conduct in this thread, I just became defensive and lost track of what the purpose of the thread was.

    As you rightly point out, I focused too much on what I thought the outcome would/should be, when there is some validity to both arguments; and ultimately the verdict is up to the jury.

    However, despite the antagonistic nature of the debate, I don't feel it was entirely fruitless and I rather enjoyed it.

    But once again, apologies to all.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Did TEF Bronze Award affect your UCAS choices?
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.