Criminal Law Analysis Paper Example

A relationship can also be said to exist when a responsibility has been assumed. An example would be the case of Stone v Dobinson [1977] 1 Q. B. 354, where the defendants took home the infirm sister of one of them. She did not feed herself properly and eventually died. The defendants were convicted of manslaughter after assuming responsibility by taking her into their home and not calling aid for her (Supra Clarkson & Keating, p. 97-8).

A relationship can also be said to ensue from a relationship due whereby duty is assumed by contract, imposed by statute, or where the defendant himself created a dangerous situation, and was thus under a duty to attempt to remedy it (Supra Clarkson & Keating, p. 100-4). The more contentious argument however is the one whereby there is no closeness of relationship between the parties, and there is no danger to the party to provide aid. Let us consider two hypothetical scenarios.

The first case is where a child, A, is drowning in a shallow pool of water, and only B is in the vicinity at that instant, and the second case is where A is drowning in the same shallow pool of water, but there are many people, C, D, E and F in the vicinity. English common law takes the stance that the stranger or strangers are under no duty to act. Although I find this extremely unjust, there must be a reason why the law has not changed for so long. In the first case, although there may be no danger to B, B could suffer a detriment by saving A.

He could ruin his brand new designer suite by getting it wet, or be late for his date with his girlfriend. Albeit trivial, B still suffers a detriment. Firstly, if B knew that if he damaged his suit, and he knew that it would be impossible for him to claim damages, why would he do it? It would be unfair for the law to impose this duty on him, where he suffers a detriment, and then can not claim damages. Or if he lets A drown as he did not want to be late for his date, as he was perpetually late, and there was a possibility that she would break up with him if he was late again.

Would that be a valid defense? That would make it a subjective test, which would create more problems. Would someone else who was not wearing a brand new designer suit be liable? Or if someone who was not in a rush for date? The possibilities are endless and the situation becomes too complex when too many variables are considered. In the second case, if C were late for a meeting and D were late for a football match, and if E were drunk and F hydrophobic, who would be held liable? It would be impossible to argue the case.

Take for example a case where no danger or detriment exists. Suppose X is having dinner on the terrace of a restaurant. Only X and an old man are there. The waiters are all in the kitchen. Suppose the old gentleman suffers a heart attack, and he tries to reach for his pills which are just out of his reach on the table. X chooses to sit back and watch. Just then, a waiter appears and notices the old man having a heart attack and rushes to give him the pills. However, it is too late and the old man dies.

The medical reports reveal that if his pills were offered to him earlier, he would have survived. The waiter acts as a witness that X was able to provide the pills, but simply chose not too. Although it would seem extremely unreasonable, it would be unreasonable for the law to draw up specific laws for heart attacks, saving drowning children and so on. Although in certain cases may seem unreasonable where criminal liability is not the result, I think for convenience's and objectivity's sake, the law has maintained its stance regarding criminal liability for omissions.