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    Hi All

    I'm only studying A level law and there is an intruiging question in the book, which I've only come across recently.

    It states, "Professor Williams, an academic expert on criminal law, has argued that justice might be better served by convicting Blaue of the offence of wounding with intent, contrary to s.18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. The sentence would probably have been the same. What do you think?"

    I tried finding Professor Williams' views by looking up Smith & Hogan and Clarkson & Keating and could not find it, as I'm only at a college for A levels, rather than university. Does anyone know why Professor Williams was arguing for s18 rather than for a homicide conviction? Or perhaps you also advocate his view?

    I know the legal principles like taking your victim as you find him etc but just wanted to know why he thought what he did.

    Any help would be hugely appreciated.
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    (Original post by NDGAARONDI)
    Hi All

    I'm only studying A level law and there is an intruiging question in the book, which I've only come across recently.

    It states, "Professor Williams, an academic expert on criminal law, has argued that justice might be better served by convicting Blaue of the offence of wounding with intent, contrary to s.18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. The sentence would probably have been the same. What do you think?"

    I tried finding Professor Williams' views by looking up Smith & Hogan and Clarkson & Keating and could not find it, as I'm only at a college for A levels, rather than university. Does anyone know why Professor Williams was arguing for s18 rather than for a homicide conviction? Or perhaps you also advocate his view?

    I know the legal principles like taking your victim as you find him etc but just wanted to know why he thought what he did.

    Any help would be hugely appreciated.
    It was a while back when i did the case but as the case is mainly to do with the principle of causation and eggshell conditions in particular it seems to follow this sort of argument...

    Blaue at the time was criticised as the view was that even though there was no doubting the intent and malice in the attack, it was likely that the victim would not have died but for her religious beliefs. Murder is a mandatory life sentence.

    A charge for S18 wounding would also lead to life imprisonment looking at the facts of the case, however, this would eliminate the criticism of the charge been murder and avoid the whole debate over the religious beliefs / causation issue.

    That is just my theory. where do you stand on this?
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    I got full marks on this paper and i have no idea how to answer that.
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    From my understanding Blaue managed to successfully plea diminished responsibility so this eliminated the mandatory life imprisonment.

    When I first thought of his argument I wondered why Blaue had attacked the victim in the first place, well it did say why, she refused to have sex with him. Now I do know there are certain rules for Jehova Witnesses on this topic, and possibly why she might have refused may have been on one or more of those rules. So, this must mean that Blaue knew full well that for religious beliefs, she could not do what he wanted. So he was asking for it, if he caused her serious injury and died from her.

    Although you mentioned no doubting the intent. I would agree on this case, but if you had other cases where you could charge s18 instead of manslaughter, if you cannot prove the necessary intent for some reason or another you might end up having to settle with s20, which is 5 years imprisonment maximum. This may not be enough, and a life has been lost, irrespective of the circumstances as to how it was lost. To me it makes no sense charging for someone on a non-fatal offence (against the person), when in fact, it was fatal. This needs to be a homicide charge. Although there is a similar scenario with causing death by dangerous driving. Or perhaps some of the material mentioned in the later paragraphs.

    When I finished my AS exams our lecturer used the rest of the lessons up to give us a taste for criminal law. He gave us the situation in Blaue and asked if he should be liable. Strangely enough I was the only one (only 2 others present) who thought he should pay. He caused it.

    Perhaps Professor Williams was arguing the way he did because of the wider application of the principle? If the victim of a rape were to be so outraged as to commit suicide by shooting herself it might be argued that it was the bullet which caused the death and not the rape. Certainly the rape is not 'an operating and substantial cause' in the same sense as the wound in Blaue; but the rapist must take his victim as he finds her.

    This may be the effect of Dear [1996] where D's conviction for murder was upheld, even though P may have intentionally caused his own death by aggravating the wounds inflicted upon him by D...

    The decision is, perhaps, not quite conclusive of the rape victim/suicide case - the wounds as well as V's acts may have been the physical cause of death, whereas in the rape case the bullet is the sole physical cause of death.

    But then do we really take our victim as we find him? Because although in Dear it was apparently regarded as immaterial that V's conduct was unforeseeable. Where would this lead Pitts [1842]?

    If the reaction was 'so daft as to make it [V's] own voluntary act' then the chain of causation is broken. So it seems that you don't have to take a daft victim.

    Or may be he was also looking at the other points to it? The principle would impose liability upon D for unforeseeable intervening acts causing death and is probably confined to acts or omissions by the victim. But what if V had been too young to make a decision about a blood transfusion and her parents succeeded on religious grounds in preventing a transfusion being given, it is thought that the wound would have remained an operating and substantial cause, so D would still have been liable.

    But if, on religious grounds, the daughter had been raped, and it is necessary to liquidate a defiled daughter, apparently it is thought that D would not be liable for her death.

    I've seen some questions on criminal law on the Oxford University's website and it asked, "Is it justifiable to maintain a special category of 'sexual' offences? What would be the advantages, if any, of abolishing the offence of rape and dealing with rape as assault?" May be this question was looking at this problem amongst other things? See also: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~corp0538/Addi...20Problems.htm

    Any thoughts? I've not studied sexual offences, which doesn't help because I lightly touch on it for recklessness (Morgan and others etc) and indeed last year on AS (Miller [1954], R v R [1991]), which is ELS work.

    I'll stop typing for now lol

    Thanks for the replies
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    (Original post by NDGAARONDI)
    From my understanding Blaue managed to successfully plea diminished responsibility so this eliminated the mandatory life imprisonment.

    When I first thought of his argument I wondered why Blaue had attacked the victim in the first place, well it did say why, she refused to have sex with him. Now I do know there are certain rules for Jehova Witnesses on this topic, and possibly why she might have refused may have been on one or more of those rules. So, this must mean that Blaue knew full well that for religious beliefs, she could not do what he wanted. So he was asking for it, if he caused her serious injury and died from her.

    Although you mentioned no doubting the intent. I would agree on this case, but if you had other cases where you could charge s18 instead of manslaughter, if you cannot prove the necessary intent for some reason or another you might end up having to settle with s20, which is 5 years imprisonment maximum. This may not be enough, and a life has been lost, irrespective of the circumstances as to how it was lost. To me it makes no sense charging for someone on a non-fatal offence (against the person), when in fact, it was fatal. This needs to be a homicide charge. Although there is a similar scenario with causing death by dangerous driving. Or perhaps some of the material mentioned in the later paragraphs.

    When I finished my AS exams our lecturer used the rest of the lessons up to give us a taste for criminal law. He gave us the situation in Blaue and asked if he should be liable. Strangely enough I was the only one (only 2 others present) who thought he should pay. He caused it.

    Perhaps Professor Williams was arguing the way he did because of the wider application of the principle? If the victim of a rape were to be so outraged as to commit suicide by shooting herself it might be argued that it was the bullet which caused the death and not the rape. Certainly the rape is not 'an operating and substantial cause' in the same sense as the wound in Blaue; but the rapist must take his victim as he finds her.

    This may be the effect of Dear [1996] where D's conviction for murder was upheld, even though P may have intentionally caused his own death by aggravating the wounds inflicted upon him by D...

    The decision is, perhaps, not quite conclusive of the rape victim/suicide case - the wounds as well as V's acts may have been the physical cause of death, whereas in the rape case the bullet is the sole physical cause of death.

    But then do we really take our victim as we find him? Because although in Dear it was apparently regarded as immaterial that V's conduct was unforeseeable. Where would this lead Pitts [1842]?

    If the reaction was 'so daft as to make it [V's] own voluntary act' then the chain of causation is broken. So it seems that you don't have to take a daft victim.

    Or may be he was also looking at the other points to it? The principle would impose liability upon D for unforeseeable intervening acts causing death and is probably confined to acts or omissions by the victim. But what if V had been too young to make a decision about a blood transfusion and her parents succeeded on religious grounds in preventing a transfusion being given, it is thought that the wound would have remained an operating and substantial cause, so D would still have been liable.

    But if, on religious grounds, the daughter had been raped, and it is necessary to liquidate a defiled daughter, apparently it is thought that D would not be liable for her death.

    I've seen some questions on criminal law on the Oxford University's website and it asked, "Is it justifiable to maintain a special category of 'sexual' offences? What would be the advantages, if any, of abolishing the offence of rape and dealing with rape as assault?" May be this question was looking at this problem amongst other things? See also: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~corp0538/Addi...20Problems.htm

    Any thoughts? I've not studied sexual offences, which doesn't help because I lightly touch on it for recklessness (Morgan and others etc) and indeed last year on AS (Miller [1954], R v R [1991]), which is ELS work.

    I'll stop typing for now lol

    Thanks for the replies
    Another question that follows from Balue and would also attract debate seems to be is there more need for categorising murder, as in the case of charges of first and second degree in the states, or should it be left for the common law to decide the path of these cases as in Blaue?
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    (Original post by George-W-Duck)
    Another question that follows from Balue and would also attract debate seems to be is there more need for categorising murder, as in the case of charges of first and second degree in the states, or should it be left for the common law to decide the path of these cases as in Blaue?
    This is a good point. I've noticed a few cases where it was felt that having these degrees would be more just. Unfortunately, I can not name them right now. I have come across some homicide cases on manslaughter and several cases do not seem to fit together. For example, R v Parnham [2002] killed the V when he was threatened by his wife that she will leave him. However, R v Cocker [1989] was convicted for murder even though his relative had physically and mentally tormented him in to killing her because she was unable to do so (she was incurably ill). I think in Cocker he tried provocation, I guess diminished reponsibility would have been better to use. How can we classify him as the same category of murders such as Shipman and Sutcliffe? It also seems to me that if an accused is capable of using either (partial) defence there is a chance that the same jury will accept s2 of the Homicide Act 1957, but not s3. This could cause injustice, with incompetant lawyers choosing the wrong defence.

    There was something I read about recommendations of degrees if murder, but it was revoked.

    A simpler solution would be to abolish the mandatory life sentence all together.

    Also, just another thought, will there be such thing as oblique intention with murder in years to come? The plane example, which probably most people will know, I would argue, is reckless, and therefore is not murder but manslaughter.

    Also on causation what was the case with the snooker cue? I also find R v Kennedy [1999] to reconcile.

    If we did have degrees of murder would Blaue have escaped the first degree you reckon? Anyone else want to add anything? :rolleyes:

    Thanks.
 
 
 
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