Criminal law help please Watch

mario88
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Not sure how to tackle this question and im very short of time. Any ideas? Any help will be much appreciated!

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Margaret put a large bowl of left-over food in her back garden every evening to try to attract badgers. Every morning the food was gone. One autumn night, Margaret sat up late to try to see the badgers eating. Instead of badgers, she saw Michael and Mark, two elderly homeless men, sneak into her garden. Both appeared to be very frail and ill. Michael let himself into her shed, which was never locked. Mark emptied the bowl of food into a bag and crept away. Occasionally keeping watch over subsequent weeks, Margaret realised that as the weather grew colder, Michael was sleeping in her shed and Mark was eating the bowl of food every night. One morning Margaret confronted them. Michael said he had food but nowhere to sleep. Mark told her he had a tent in the woods but the bowl of food was all he had to eat.

The next day, Margaret decided it was time to make Michael and Mark move on, as they were lowering the tone of the neighbourhood. She stopped putting the food out and after several days Mark stopped coming. She then noticed that her gardener, Dennis, who had also found out about Michael’s sleeping arrangement, had put a padlock on the shed door. Knowing that this would deprive Michael of shelter that night, during which freezing temperatures were expected, Margaret did not remove it. The next day Dennis found Michael dead from exposure at the bottom of the garden. Rather shocked, he asked Margaret for a cup of tea. Margaret decided to try to silence him but due to his long service wanted to let fate give him a chance. She poured milk into two identical jugs, laced one with bleach and set them both out next to the teapot. Dennis made his tea, poured milk into it from the jug with bleach in, added lots of sugar and drank it all. He suffered internal injuries from which he took months to recover. Mark was later found dead from starvation. Advise Margaret and Dennis.
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*sparkles*
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well... a few ideas really but...
trespassers- they aren't allowed on her land
theft- stealing the food?!
duty of care- regarding whether she needed to do something, depends on assumption of one, i would look at cases like dobinson v stone etc
bleach- i would look at the case with the guy who gives the mother something but only a small amount and thats not what kills her, cant remember the name though sorry... it could also be an attempt... you'd need to look more closely at the case law and statute.
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mario88
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thanks. im getting an idea.. what is a quick way to find the cases and statutes that i need to read?
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mario88
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any more ideas? come on guys
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*sparkles*
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just look in your notes on the areas being questionned... eg. duty to act and read those and you should find what you need about that.
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Julesy78
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Look in your text books under each of the areas and there will be the relevant cases there, just be sure that the cases that you use have the ratio that fits the argument you are using.
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harrym_15
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The easy bit:

An ommission to feed is a breach of the duty of care if one is established. Stone and Dobinson is your case for that - where they feed the aunt and then withdraw care.

Note if the mens rea is present an ommission can also form the basis for murder (Gibbons and Proctor).

Sparkles mentioned theft, but we're dealing with murder/manslaughter here, and prevention of a crime isn't a defence - if I've got the wrong end of the stick here please let me know

Oh, and the weather: is it reasonably foreseeable? From M's perspective, maybe as she knew the weather and fragility. But there's no indication Dennis knew either. It was scheduled to be a cold night, so it shouldn't be a novus actus interviens.

The bits I'd love to know the answer to:

- If a duty of care is established, what's the difference between no longer putting out food, and failing to provide shelter by unlocking the padlock?

- Can Dennis' action of putting the padlock on make Margaret any less culpable, as she didn't put it on herself?
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Liv1204
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http://sixthformlaw.info/02_cases/index.htm

^^ Have you seen this website before? It should be pretty easy to find the cases you need on there, we used it loads for A-level law, it's where I made all my revision notes from, heh.
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*sparkles*
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(Original post by harrym_15)
The easy bit:

An ommission to feed is a breach of the duty of care if one is established. Stone and Dobinson is your case for that - where they feed the aunt and then withdraw care.

Note if the mens rea is present an ommission can also form the basis for murder (Gibbons and Proctor).

Sparkles mentioned theft, but we're dealing with murder/manslaughter here, and prevention of a crime isn't a defence - if I've got the wrong end of the stick here please let me know

Oh, and the weather: is it reasonably foreseeable? From M's perspective, maybe as she knew the weather and fragility. But there's no indication Dennis knew either. It was scheduled to be a cold night, so it shouldn't be a novus actus interviens.

The bits I'd love to know the answer to:

- If a duty of care is established, what's the difference between no longer putting out food, and failing to provide shelter by unlocking the padlock?

- Can Dennis' action of putting the padlock on make Margaret any less culpable, as she didn't put it on herself?
The theft was kind of just a question mark, I was writing that on my way out and didn't think anything through at all!! I realise if it's relevant that is for a crime BEFORE the whole manslaughter thing.

Also... I don't think there is a difference between no longer putting out food and failing to unlock the padlock- both are omissions, food and shelter are both pretty crucial, if it was me I would probably deal with them equally.
Dennis has committed a positive act- putting on the padlock (which is why the question asks you to consider his liability too), with maragaret it's an omission- she realised it would prevent him getting shelter but failed to remove it, I think that just comes down to duty of care really.
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jacketpotato
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There's a big question-mark here over whether there is any sort of duty at all. The food was put out for badgers, not for homeless people. You certainly can't assume it - its a very different scenario to Stone

Remember to systematically go through the requirements of the offence you want to make out. Systematically consider the requirements for each offence Margaret might have committed, in turn, (murder, manslaughter, GBH) then do the same for Dennis.

(Original post by harrym_15)
- If a duty of care is established, what's the difference between no longer putting out food, and failing to provide shelter by unlocking the padlock?

- Can Dennis' action of putting the padlock on make Margaret any less culpable, as she didn't put it on herself?
No longer putting out food is a negative act - its an omission. Margaret didn't actually do anything - she just stopped what she was already doing.
By contrast, putting a padlock on the door of a shed is a positive act, so there are no problems associated with omissions.

As for whether Margaret is culpable for removing the padlock, we aren't told whether she knew that the padlock was on there or not. She might never have known. In addition, failing to remove the padlock would again be an omission raising problems similar to those associated with not putting out food.

There is also a issue of causation re: the bleach
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mario88
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wow, thats alot of help. cheeers all
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mario88
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do you actually think she is guilty of manslaughter? i dont think there can be any duty of care since she dont know the people and it is her private property. Even though she knew one of them had nowhere to sleep it can not be her duty to let them sleep there. Can you create a duty of care from an event you are not even aware of?
dennis is not guilty and margaret is only guilty of the poisoning. Do you think its correct?
How would you treat the poisoning? Attempted murder? Any good cases you know of?

Mario
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