Criminal Attempts Act Essay

Finally, Shola is part of the joint enterprise and would also be liable under Section 5 of the Criminal Attempts Act 198151 for conspiracy. Shola may also be liable for several other offences. Firstly burglary. Shola stands as a lookout allowing Alan, Titus and Celestine to enter. This constitutes aiding burglary by allowing people to enter as trespassers with an intention to steal. However in order for Shola to be liable for this offence it must be proved that he has knowledge of the type of crime and was one within his contemplation.

Shola had knowledge of the burglary and it was his job to stand as a lookout. Therefore Shola would be found liable for aiding a burglary. In addition to this Shola may be liable as a secondary party to murder. As before it could be argued that, Shola standing as a lookout, has aided the murder of Glenn even though he was not present at the time the offence was committed. Had Shola not stood as a lookout allowing Titus to enter the house he would not have killed Glenn. It must now be shown that Shola knew of the type of crime that may be committed.

Shola only knew of the burglary, murder was not part of the joint enterprise; however it may be enough that the crime was one in his contemplation52. In this scenario Shola is aware that Titus has a violent temper and may seriously injure anyone who interferes with the plan. Due to this Shola will have contemplated that serious injury may occur. As the mens rea for murder can be an intention to cause serious bodily harm, it would be found that Shola has aided the murder of Glenn and would therefore be found liable. Shola may also be liable for aiding rape.

Shola has acted as a look out allowing Celestine to enter and subsequently rape Kim. Therefore Shola has aided the rape of Kim. However as before the principles of Bainbridge 196053 Maxwell 197854 must be proved. It is clear that Shola had no knowledge and did not contemplate that a sexual offence may occur. Therefore it cannot fairly be said that Shola would be liable for aiding the rape of Kim. However Shola may be liable for the murder of Lee. Murder is a common law crime of specific intent with an actus reus of an unlawful killing of a human being55 with a mens rea of intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm56.

Here Shola has clearly brought about the actus reus directly by forcefully striking Lee which causes him to hit his head and subsequently dies. There is no break in the chain of causation and following White 191057, but for Shola striking Lee he would not have died. Shola also possessed the necessary mens rea to be liable for murder. Although Shola may not have intended for Lee to die, he clearly intended to cause Lee serious injury, which would constitute the mens rea. This leaves Shola liable for the murder of Lee. However there may be a defence of provocation open to Shola.

Provocation is a partial defence which can be applied to a charge of murder. The defence of provocation can be found in Section 3 of the Homicide Act 195758 and was defined in Duffy 194959 as 'an act or series of acts, done to the accused, which would cause a reasonable man to suddenly and temporarily lose self control'60. If a plea of provocation is successful a charge of murder is reduced to voluntary manslaughter. The test of provocation has two parts. Firstly a subjective test requires that the defendant was provoked to lose his self control61. In Doughty 198662 it was held that provocation simply needs to be something said or done63.

Shola has been ridiculed about his ears and has been referred to as Dumbo the elephant. It would be sufficient that these words amounted to provocation. However these words must have caused Shola to suddenly and temporarily lose self control. This principle was stated in Duffy 194964. It is clear that the provoking words were enough for Shola to lose his self control suddenly and temporarily. This would satisfy the subjective test. The second part of the test is objective and requires the provocation to make a reasonable man with the same characteristics, react in the same way65.

This comes from Camplin 197866. For a characteristic to be relevant the feature must have a degree of permanence and there must be a connection between the characteristics and the provocation67. Shola has a control characteristic of being depressed and a response characteristic of being ridiculed about his protruding ears. Therefore it must be asked whether a reasonable depressive man being ridiculed about his protruding ears would have reacted the same as Shola. Following Smith Morgan 200068 a depressive state was a characteristic that could be taken into account when considering provocation69.

Therefore on this basis it is likely that a defence of provocation would be accepted and is likely to be successful. This means Shola would not be held liable for the murder of Lee. However provocation is only a partial defence meaning that Shola would still remain liable to a charge of voluntary manslaughter. Alan, Titus, Celestine, Shay and Shola may be liable for a range of offences at different levels following the principles outlined. However the jury would be left to decide where liability lies for each offence.