CRIMINAL LAW URGENT HELP!!!! Impossibility to kill V because of V's death Watch

Aletheia1995
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Hi guys,
I have a problem question based on conspiracy and attempt murder.
Basically, A and B decides to kill V on day X. They discussed what they need and how to kill him. So far so good. :borat:
However, two days before the day X, V died for an another reason (car accident), and therefore they cannot kill him anymore.:grumble:
So my question is not about conspiracy, but about attempt murder.
What would you say about that?
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digitalangel18
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Have they been caught or ?? If the police don't act on it/nobody knew other than A and B they could go about there lives I guess and be happy they didn't have to do it.
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Aletheia1995
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(Original post by digitalangel18)
Have they been caught or ?? If the police don't act on it/nobody knew other than A and B they could go about there lives I guess and be happy they didn't have to do it.
I know, but it is a problem question and you have to discuss it anyway. It does not matter if they have been caught or not. The issue is whether they could be charged with attempted murder or not.
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digitalangel18
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(Original post by Aletheia1995)
I know, but it is a problem question and you have to discuss it anyway. It does not matter if they have been caught or not. The issue is whether they could be charged with attempted murder or not.
Well if it stayed between A and B and have no evidence (email, texts, witnesses etc) I don't see how they could get caught and charged for attempted murder.
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Wrf95
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(Original post by digitalangel18)
Well if it stayed between A and B and have no evidence (email, texts, witnesses etc) I don't see how they could get caught and charged for attempted murder.
You clearly don't understand the point of problem questions..

And sorry I haven't studied attempt so I couldn't tell you, but I'd guess it would link to their original intent
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Aletheia1995
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(Original post by digitalangel18)
Well if it stayed between A and B and have no evidence (email, texts, witnesses etc) I don't see how they could get caught and charged for attempted murder.
But you cannot write as an aswer "since they would not get caught, then they cannot be charged". Ok, basically say they come to you for a legal advise. They tell you that they planned to kill V, but V died. I know that nobody will caught them, but you have to act like they have already been caught. It is difficult to explain, but this is how a prob question is. I mean, say that they are already in court. There is obviously the mens rea for attempted murder which is intention, the actus reus is "an act that is more than merely preparatory". The question is: can they be convicted of attempt murder (if both the actus reus and mens rea are present) even if it was actually impossible to kill V because he died for another reason?
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Simes
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I think the jury will be scratching their heads and wondering why they are there.
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a noble chance
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You seem to be asking whether their actions constitute attempted murder. I don't think they do, since attempted murder is not only intending and preparing to murder but also the unsuccessful application of this preparation which here did not occur.
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digitalangel18
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(Original post by Aletheia1995)
But you cannot write as an aswer "since they would not get caught, then they cannot be charged". Ok, basically say they come to you for a legal advise. They tell you that they planned to kill V, but V died. I know that nobody will caught them, but you have to act like they have already been caught. It is difficult to explain, but this is how a prob question is. I mean, say that they are already in court. There is obviously the mens rea for attempted murder which is intention, the actus reus is "an act that is more than merely preparatory". The question is: can they be convicted of attempt murder (if both the actus reus and mens rea are present) even if it was actually impossible to kill V because he died for another reason?
I'd say they could be convicted then, if A and B verbally planned it with the date and time and who was doing what, then it is clearly an attempt to commit murder.
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a noble chance
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(Original post by Aletheia1995)
But you cannot write as an aswer "since they would not get caught, then they cannot be charged". Ok, basically say they come to you for a legal advise. They tell you that they planned to kill V, but V died. I know that nobody will caught them, but you have to act like they have already been caught. It is difficult to explain, but this is how a prob question is. I mean, say that they are already in court. There is obviously the mens rea for attempted murder which is intention, the actus reus is "an act that is more than merely preparatory". The question is: can they be convicted of attempt murder (if both the actus reus and mens rea are present) even if it was actually impossible to kill V because he died for another reason?
The actus reus is not present...
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a noble chance
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(Original post by digitalangel18)
I'd say they could be convicted then, if A and B verbally planned it with the date and time and who was doing what, then it is clearly an attempt to commit murder.
No, it is conspiracy to murder. There was no attempt in this case.
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Simes
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I don't know if this is relevant (probably not). X has gone on holiday. A and B have set up a booby-trap in X's home that will identify him and kill him when he opens the door. It is fool-proof and will work.

2 days before coming home, X dies.

A and B have done everything they need to to kill X. Is that attempted murder?

If not, how is it different from them shooting him and missing?
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Aletheia1995
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(Original post by a noble chance)
The actus reus is not present...
I would say so, but I have seen that since the definition of "more than merely preparatory" is vague, it is a matter for the jury. It is not clear when an act is more than merely preparatory and when is just preparatory. So pretend the jury will find both the actus reus and the mens rea, will they be convicted of attempted murder even if V died for another reason? That is what I want to know. Just pretend the jury will find both the mens rea and actus reus for the crime.
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a noble chance
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(Original post by Aletheia1995)
I would say so, but I have seen that since the definition of "more than merely preparatory" is vague, it is a matter for the jury. It is not clear when an act is more than merely preparatory and when is just preparatory. So pretend the jury will find both the actus reus and the mens rea, will they be convicted of attempted murder even if V died for another reason? That is what I want to know. Just pretend the jury will find both the mens rea and actus reus for the crime.
Why should I pretend that - does the question specify it?

They didn't attempt to murder V, so why would they be convicted of attempted murder?

More than merely preparatory implies actions beyond preparation...these actions don't exist here going by the OP.
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Aletheia1995
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(Original post by a noble chance)
Why should I pretend that - does the question specify it?

They didn't attempt to murder V, so why would they be convicted of attempted murder?

More than merely preparatory implies actions beyond preparation...these actions don't exist here going by the OP.
So take this as an example:

I don't know if this is relevant (probably not). X has gone on holiday. A and B have set up a booby-trap in X's home that will identify him and kill him when he opens the door. It is fool-proof and will work.

2 days before coming home, X dies.

A and B have done everything they need to to kill X. Is that attempted murder?

(It is by Simes up here)
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lawobiter
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I concur with a noble chance's wise summary that attempted murder is not a relevant charge here - the actus reus pursuant to the CAA 1989 is missing (A & B's acts must go beyond preparatory). I will put some guidance below:

Attempted Murder

You should refer to the Criminal Attempts Act 1989. Section 1(1) provides that a person may be guilty of attempting to commit a substantive offence if (1) he intended to commit the offence, and (2) he did an act which was more than preparatory to the commission of the offence. In R v Gullefer (1987) the Court of Appeal held that the wording of the Act must be followed in establishing criminal liability. In DPP v Stonehouse (1987) it was held that the defendant must have committed the last act required and ‘must have crossed the Rubicon.’ While the actus reus may not be present for the full substantive offence, it must be demonstrated that both A & B had direct and specific intent to commit that full offence. In this circumstance, the mens rea must be present – that is, an intention to kill; an intention to cause GBH (mens rea for a murder conviction) is not sufficient to establish liability for attempted murder (R v Mohan (1976)).

An important case is R v Jones (1990)). It was held, inter alia, that the act of obtaining and shortening a gun and going to the scene were only preparatory acts. However, once the loaded gun was pointed with the intention to kill, he was said to have fulfilled the requirements that the act was more than merely preparatory. This is an important case as it details how far a party or parties must go before their acts are considered more than merely preparatory pursuant to s.1 CAA 1989.

Whether or not an act is more than merely preparatory is a question of fact which should be decided by the jury (s.4(3)). The judge has to be satisfied that a defendant has done an act which shows that he has actually tried to commit the offence in question and has not only got ready, or put himself in a position or equipped himself to do so (R v Geddes [1996])).This does not appear to be present.

Therefore, it does not appear, based on the facts provided, that A or B have the requisite actus reus – that is, performing an act which was more than merely preparatory. Further, A & B have not committed the last act before the crime proper.

Conspiracy

Conspiracy is an inchoate offence. There must be an agreement to kill the victim; intending to cause GBH will not suffice (R v Siracusa 1989)). There must be a knowledge between A & B of the surrounding circumstances (R v Sail (2006)).

A & B may be charged with a statutory offence under s.1 Criminal Law Act 1977. In order to apply, it must be shown that A & B agreed that a course of conduct should be pursued which, if carried out in accordance with their intentions, either: (a) would necessary amount to or involve the commission of the offence; or (b) would do so but for the existence of facts would render the commission of the offence impossible. There are two parties to the conspiracy (A & B) therefore, R v Chrasny (1992) is met. It appears that A & B are aware that they are entering into an agreement (R v Jackson (1085); R v Davenport (2009)) and appear to have gone beyond the stage of negotiation (R v Walker 1962). Likewise, it appears that they have gone beyond merely discussing the offence and that they have actually agreed to commit it (R v Nock (1978)). Moreover, there is no need for A & B to have taken steps to carry out the agreement (DPP v. Doot (1973)).

The mens rea is clear: there must be an intention to reach an agreement, and an intention that the offence will be committed by either A or B (R v Yip Chiu Cheung 1990; R v Anderson (1985)). It would appear that the offence was complete as soon as A & B agreed to carry out the act.
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