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Mens Rea Transferred Malice Elements of Criminal Liability

The Law Bank


Elements of Criminal Liability
Transferred Malice
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Mens Rea Transferred Malice Elements of Criminal Liability
The Law Bank
Objectives
Identify the meaning of the term transferred
malice

Describe the cases involving transferred malice

Apply the concept of transferred malice to
problem questions
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Mens Rea Transferred Malice Elements of Criminal Liability
The Law Bank
Starter can this be solved using just a single
continuing act? If not, why not?
Danni had broken up with her boyfriend, Jack, and
was very angry that he continued to climb onto the
branches of a tree in the park next to her garden
and shout at her when she was out in her garden.
She went out one night and partly sawed through
some of the branches on the tree, hoping that they
would break and that Jack would fall and be injured
next time he pestered her. Unfortunately, the next
day, Daisy, aged 6, climbed the tree. She fell and
was seriously injured when one of the branches
broke.
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Mens Rea Transferred Malice Elements of Criminal Liability
The Law Bank
Introduction
Transferred malice is where the mens rea of the
crime directed at one person is transferred to the
unintended victim of the crime
It is an interpretation of contemporaneity
Two old cases and one new one
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Mens Rea Transferred Malice Elements of Criminal Liability
The Law Bank
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R v Latimer (1886) LR 17 QBD 359, CCR
D, a soldier during an argument with another man C in a pub, took off his belt
swung it at C, missed and wounded the landlady V.

Principle The intention to strike C was transferred to V under the doctrine of
transferred malice, although the result, in some respects, is an unintended one.

Guilty
Mens Rea Transferred Malice Elements of Criminal Liability
The Law Bank
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R v Pembliton (1969) LR 2 CCR 119, CCR
D broke a pub window by picking up a stone and throwing it at the group of men he had
been fighting, missed them and broke the window behind them.

Principle His "malice" in intending to strike another person could not be transferred
to an intention to break the window.

Obiter: He could have been convicted had it been proved that he was reckless, having
foreseen the risk of damage to the window.

Not Guilty
Mens Rea Transferred Malice Elements of Criminal Liability
The Law Bank
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R v Mitchell (1983) 2 All ER 427
D and another man S became involved in a scuffle in a Post Office; D pushed S, who fell
onto an elderly lady C, causing C injuries from which she later died.

Principle His intention to assault X was transferred to C.

Guilty of manslaughter

Mens Rea Transferred Malice Elements of Criminal Liability
The Law Bank
The legal principle
Transferred malice is only applicable when the
actus reus intended is the same as the actual
actus reus inflicted on the unintended victim.

Where the actual actus reus is different from the
intended actus reus no malice can be
transferred.
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Mens Rea Transferred Malice Elements of Criminal Liability
The Law Bank
Plenary try it now
Danni had broken up with her boyfriend, Jack, and
was very angry that he continued to climb onto the
branches of a tree in the park next to her garden
and shout at her when she was out in her garden.
She went out one night and partly sawed through
some of the branches on the tree, hoping that they
would break and that Jack would fall and be injured
next time he pestered her. Unfortunately, the next
day, Daisy, aged 6, climbed the tree. She fell and
was seriously injured when one of the branches
broke.
9
Mens Rea Transferred Malice Elements of Criminal Liability
The Law Bank
Objectives
Identify the meaning of the term transferred
malice

Describe the cases involving transferred malice

Apply the concept of transferred malice to
problem questions
10