Mens Rea Intention Table | Law Essays

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07/03/18 Cases Reference this

Last modified: 07/03/18 Author: In-house law team

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Case/Statute Act Leading To Undesired Consequence Purpose Undesired Consequence Decision on How Intention is to be Established

v Smith (1961)

Driving off with

policeman holding on to car

To get away from the


Policeman fell off

car and killed by oncoming vehicle

Person intends the

natural & probable

consequences of his

acts (HL).

Section 8 of the

Criminal Justice Act 1967

To reverse the

decision in DPP v Smith

Jury not bound to

find that D intended result just because it was a natural and probable

result of D’s act.Look

at all relevant evidence and decide D’s intention.


v DPP (1975)

D put burning

newspaper through letterbox

To frighten the

woman who lived in the house

Death of lady’s

two children

Enough that D

foresaw that his actions were likely or highly likely to cause death or

gbh (HL).


v Moloney (1985)

Firing live bullet Shooting contest Death of stepfather Jury to ask


(1) Was death or gbh

the natural consequence of D’s act? And

(2) Did the D

foresee this?

If yes to both

questions, then can infer intention (HL).


v Hancock and Shankland (1986)

D’s threw concrete

block on to motorway

Intended to block

the road used by non-striking miners

Death of taxi driver The greater the

probability of a consequence occurring, the more likely it was foreseen,

and the more likely it was foreseen the more likely it was intended.

Foresight of

consequences is only evidence of intention (HL).

Case/Statute Guilty Act Purpose Undesired Consequence Decision

v Nedrick (1986)

D put petrol bomb

through letterbox

D wanted to frighten

the owner of the house

Child burned to


If jury satisfied

that D recognised that death or sbh would be a virtually certain result

of his act, then they may infer that D intended to cause that result, but not

obliged to do so (CA).


v Scalley (1995)

D set fire to a


To destroy flat Death of child Judge failed to

explain that if jury satisfied that D did see death or serious injury as

virtually certain, then could infer intention but did not have to (CA).


v Woollin (1998)

Lost temper and

threw baby onto hard surface

Frustration at baby


Death of baby Jury should be

directed according to the Nedrick “virtual certainty” test to find intention.

Substantial risk is not enough (HL).

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