Criminal Law

Topics: Law

Pages: 7 | Words: 1830



The assignment aims to analyse the issues of causation and omission issues under the case study given. In order to examine this case study, the ILAC model will be applied here.


Issue 1: Whether the causation chain will be broken in relation to the Paul breach of duty (if any) cause of Stuart injury.

Issue 2: Whether Omission will be applied to the June case against Jack?

Issue 3: whether the doctor breached the standard of care?


In order to find an individual liable for the offence, it is important that 3-element must be established.

• As per actus reus, they must be guilty of the defendant conduct.

• As per mens rea, the defendant must remain in the guilty state of mind

• There should not be a valid defence.

 For an offence, in order to find the defendant liable, causation of harm by the actions of the defendant is important. In order to satisfy the actus reus, there are two types of caution. This includes legal causation and factual. In order to establish an offence, it is important that both must be for. Often factual causation is based on the But for Test. Here the question is related to whether, but for the actions of the defendant, the victim harm would have occurred. While establishing the legal causation, it is not important that the accused be the main or sole cause of the victim’s harm, but it must be an important cause of the thing that happened. However, the chain of causation by a Novus actus intervenient can be broken.

This means that if the third party would intervene in the event, which harms the victim too, then the effect of those third party would break the chain of causation between the victim’s harm and the defendant. However, there are limitations to it when both actions of parties collectively result in the harm which is suffered by the victim, then potentially both the defendants will be considered liable for causing the harm. IT will not matter that one action of the defendant has caused the harm the other has not.

 On the other hand, an omission in certain circumstances and failure to act will constitute the conviction whether a requirement is present via Omission, which would depend upon the certain type of language present in the statue. Falsify, obstruct and deceive words are which is held by the court to be capable regarding gratification through omissions. By some of the commentators, it is believed that the emissions liability should be imposed for omissions that sufficiently violates the duties of not punishing wrong, outweighs the liberty diminution such entails punishment.

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a) Paul to Stuart

  Following the Court of Appeal, the causation principles were prominently established, which thrown away the old principle by the case of Kennedy (No 1) .In relation to this case, Kennedy supplied the victim heroin, and the drug was injected, and he then felt severely ill and dies from the overdose. The Kennedy against the unlawful act of manslaughter, which was dismissed, appealed it. It was held b by the law established that at the time, if the victim is conducting an informed, voluntary, and free then the chain of causation would break to the third party between an addict and drug supplier who died subsequently from the drug overdose for this type of offence. This type of decision in this case of Kennedy was overruled subsequently by the judgment of the House of Lords that stated further that judgment does not apply to gross negligence manslaughter. Thus, it can be seen that Paul and Stuart inject each other voluntarily, though but in consequence of it, although the informed, free, and voluntary act of the third-party results in intervention and breaking the chain of causation of defendant, then Paul will not be considered liable for any gross negligence or manslaughter. This is known as breaking the chain of causation by a Novus actus intervention. Thus, Paul’s non-liability can further be confirmed by the House of Lords in the judgments of R v Dalby and R v Dias that the causation chain can easily be broken by the informed and voluntary decision of the person who is injecting itself. Though Stuart collapses, Paul had nothing to do with it as Stuart had been voluntary injecting himself, thus confirming Paul’s non-liability.

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b) Jack to June

The second instance present of the failure to act that establishes the offence actus reus is the law enforcement duties. It can be stated that in medical ethics, it is important to protect the public. It is important that a core competent must be present in order to establish the Omission having a duty to act between the victim and defendant. This type of duty in several ways can be encountered. It is important that in Omission, voluntary acceptance of the responsibility to help others should be accepted. So being a nurse means that one has accepted the responsibility in medical law to help others. It is important to prove that Omission might have prevented the harm. Further to this, there is a duty present to the public authority people to assist and protect the public regardless of whether they are at the time of incidence or not, as present in the case of R v Dytham (1979) , it was seen that the police officer was though off duty but seeing a man being kicked to death, no step was taken to intervene he drove away when all the incident was over. For the common law offence, he was convicted of public office misconduct as they neglected to act to apprehend the victim or protect the victim. Thus, this shows that the nurse has the duty to provide care to June.

 A control situation occurs in which, to a higher degree, the defendant remains in control over an individual. Here the duty of care arises. As it was seen in the Reeves v Commissioner of Police [2000] where the court held that when an inmate was attempting suicide and police were there at the watch, a policeman opened the cell, which made it easier was the inmate to use a noose. This results in Omission, but since police have control regarding the cells, they will have a duty to act on it. Thus, in the case of June’s accident, when a nurse was present at the scene. She had the duty of care to ensure that Jack provides the care to June.

Further, it is seen by the case of Carmarthenshire County Council v Lewis [1955] even for 10 a child remained unsupervised, and thus it leads to the accident where boy walked to the road. However, while saving the child, a bus was hit on the pole, and the bus driver died on the scene. It was held that teacher was present on the scene, and he could have controlled the situation and had a duty to act. Similar to this, Jack was in control of the situation as the emergency alert was already in front of her but not helping them and going to her duty resulting in a breach of duty of care. Thus, the June family could take action against Jack, the nurse.

Dr to Jack

However, to establish loss, it remains important that causation must be established. Thus, here is whether or not factual causation remain where James has suffered a loss due to a doctor breach. This principle in the case of Bailey v Ministry of Defence can be elaborated where it is stated that in the cases of medical the negligence status remains the same, as long as the claimant is able to establish that Novus intervention has occurred, and the negligent contribution was more negligible as compared to other defendants. This will break the causation chain. The fact that June’s allergies were known to the doctor, which was already written in the report and its side effects, does break the causation chain. This can be further understood by the R v Smith if the time of medical issues that original wound is the operating cause and prominent one, then any consequences arising from it would remain to said due to the wound. Only if it is said, the wounding originally is the setting merely in which other types of cause operated, then consequences if not from the wound. Thus, since the second cause, such as the negligence of Dr, was so overwhelming, the original wound will be part of history, and the major consequences will not flow from it.

Based on Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee, [1957] . A doctor is not guilty of negligence; if they had acted according to the practices accepted by the responsible body of the skilled medical man, this is considered as Bolam test. Thus, Dr Nita could argue that he did everything he could but forgot about the allergies, something that June’s brother was concerned about. However, Dr Green, who had been up all night gives Jack is known to be allergic to, and he dies the next morning. This shows that DR was in care standard breach. This would result in providing compensation, suspending his medical license, or jail. Here both Nurse Jack and Dr will be considered as negligent, and the recklessness would be established between both Jack and Dr to June’s death. It can be observed that indirect harm can be recognised, as seen in the case of Hopper v Reeve where deliberately the drive drove high into the carriage, the Hopper inside of it got hurt. Thus, the liability of the defendant was established. Though the doctor did not intend to hurt negligently due to the recklessness, he injured June. Thus Jack will solely not be responsible for the duty to care, but both of them, and they could be liable for inflicting harm to June.


It can be concluded that the chain of causation is broken, as Stuart has taken the drugs voluntarily. Thus, no liability will be established on Paul. On the other hand, Omission could occur in the case of June, as Jack as a nurse, do have the duty to help the patient even if they are off duty. Thus, liability will be established against Jack; however, the causation chain will be extended to the DR as both Nurse Jack and DR will be considered as negligent, and the recklessness would be established between both Jack and Dr.

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