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TASK 2: Problem Solving Tasks on Dan and Dave Case 30%
You must provide a response (max 750 words) to ONE of the problems provided below. You will provide an advice about the likely outcome based on the facts provided, using appropriate legislation and case law to support your response.
- Dan and Dave have been charged with the murder of Julian and Alan. The prosecution case is that there had been an argument between Julian and Alan, and Dan and Dave. Dan and Dave produced knives and chased Julian and Alan to a train station where they attacked Julian and Alan, watched by several of Dave’s friends. The prosecution claims that Julian and Alan then ran to a nearby open canal which was flooded due to recent rain, chased by Dave’s friends who were also carrying knives. Julian and Alan believed they were still under attack, and jumped in the canal where they drowned. Discuss the criminal liability of Dan and Dave. You do not have to consider the issue of complicity.
- V has a violent relationship with her partner, D. One day, D threatens her with a knife in the kitchen. In fear for her life, V runs out of the house and towards the road. She collides with a passer-by and the impact throws her into the path of oncoming traffic. She is struck by a passing truck. The truck driver realises what he has done but reverses in panic and runs over V a second time. V dies on arrival at hospital. The cause of death was severe head trauma resulting from the injuries received when the truck reversed over V. Discuss D’s criminal liability.
- D, a practising doctor, has been charged with the murder of his 75 year old father, V. V, a chronic diabetic, had been suffering from a terminal form of cancer, which had spread, over parts of his face and neck resulting in the surgical removal of one eye and the amputation of an ear. The quality of his life was described as extremely poor and he had lived the last six months of his life in extreme pain as a patient in a specialist hospital. He was also extremely depressed over the surgery that had disfigured his appearance. D was very attached to his father and, at his father’s request, injected V with a purportedly lethal dose of insulin and also assisted him to take a massive dose of the anti-depressant prescribed for V, V fell into a short coma, which was misdiagnosed by medical staff as being attributable to his diabetic condition. On his recovery 8 hours later, nursing staff administered two increased doses of amitriptyline, which proved to be fatal in combination with the dose earlier administered by D. The first shift nurse had failed to complete the medical chart. An autopsy subsequently revealed that death was caused by an overdose of amitriptyline.D comes to you for advice.
Dan and Dave enter into an argument with Julian and Allan. The situation resulted to Dan and Dave chasing Julian and Allan whilst they produced knives. The chase heads to a train station where Dave’s friends witness Dan and Dave attack Julian and Allan. It is alleged by the prosecution that Julian and Allan escaped towards a canal which was flooded as a result of recent rains being chased by Dave’s friends who were also equipped with knives. Julian and Allan are believed to have been under the sense of attack and consequently jumped into the canal and drowned to death.
Dave and Dan Criminal Liability
The facts of the case beg the question of whether Dave and Dan are criminally liable for the death of Julian and Allan. The main issue of the case is whether Dave and Dan committed murder.
Statutory provisions in the Crimes Act 1958 contain the rule of murder. This rule holds that death that emanates from commission or flight from some forms of felonies will cause the felon to be liable for murder. Common law defines murder as illegal killing of another person with malice aforethought (Scheb and Scheb, 2014). Malice aforethought is held as the mind state of a person required for murder in common law which includes the intention to kill, intention to inflict serious body injuries, the intention to cause a felony and evident reduced indifference to life of a person. A person may be held personally liable for murder where he shows actual intent to end life of another. Else the intent to kill can be implied in situations where the defendant had evident intention of causing the victim extensive bodily harm or in a situation where the defendant with deliberate ignorance of the safety of the victim (Grippo, 2011). Under these circumstances, the cause of death can be attributed to malice aforethought as observed in People v. Morrin, (Mich. 1971).
Intent to kill:
The primary state of mind contained by malice aforethought is a person’s intent to end the life of another. Where the defendant had murderous feeling at the time of the crime, the act is held in malice aforethought as murder. Where a person yearns to end the life of another after which death of the victim occurs in connection to the actions of the defendant, the death is held as murder (Finz, 2004).
Intent to inflict body injuries:
In a situation where the defendant is found to have had the intention of causing severe bodily injuries to the victim, after whom the victim succumbs to these injuries, the situation is assumed to as a result of malice aforethought and the defendant is liable for murder (Monaghan, 2014). This assumption holds ground even in an event where the defendant had no intention of killing the victim. This was held in People v. Geiger, 159 N.W.2d 383 (Mich. 1968).
Depraved indifference to life:
This is where the defendant is involved in committing an act even though he or she is aware that the act causes a high risk of loss of life on the victim or may result to serious injuries on the body. Where the risk of death or potential severe injuries on the body are eminent, their ignorance amounts to disregard for human life and the consequent thought is assumed to be a case of malice aforethought where the defendant is liable for murder (Scheb and Scheb, 2011). These circumstances are evident in Commonwealth v. Malone, 47 A.2d 445 (Pa. 1946).
Intent to kill:
There is no evidence from the presented facts of Dan and Dave’s intent to end the life of Julian and Alan. The two were chasing the later with knives but their chief intention of the act cannot be ascertained at the moment. There is no proof of intention to kill from the facts of the case.
Intent to inflict body injuries:
Dan and Dave chased Julian and Alan with knives after an argument. It can be proven beyond reasonable doubt that Dan and Dave meant to cause bodily injuries on Julian and Alan with their knives. In Mens Rea, Dan and Dave had an intention of inflicting grievous bodily injuries on Julian and Alan.
Depraved indifference to life:
Dan and Dave certainly knew that attacking Julian and Alan with knives would definitely cause serious body injuries to them. Dave’s friends also ignored this fact and continued with the pursuit mindless of endangering the safety of Julian and Alan.
It is likely that Dave and Dan will be found guilty of murder under malice aforethought where their actions impliedly led to the death of Julian and Alan.
Finz, S. 2004. The Finz multistate method. New York, N.Y: Aspen Publishers.
Grippo, T. 2011. With malice aforethought : the execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse.
Monaghan, N. 2014. Criminal law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Scheb, J. and Scheb, J. 2011. Criminal law and procedure. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Scheb, J. and Scheb, J. 2014. Criminal law. Australia: Wadsworth.