Assignment: Criminal Law and Reasonable Belief Essay

Submitted By billybenji
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Pages: 13

Assignment: LS160 Criminal Law and Procedure (Assignment 1)

The fundamental principle for the prosecution to prove and convict Logan is to prove that the act was voluntary. Therefore, there is a requirement of proof of a voluntary act causing the forbidden result and a fault element. 1 A voluntary act is a willed act that is only concerned with its performance not its consequences,2 compared to an intentional act comprised performing the act for the purpose of achieving its consequence.3 To the contrary, an involuntary act constitutes an unwilled act.4 The voluntariness is the connection between the conscious mind and bodily movement. Such as a person sleep-walking or hypnotised is not acting voluntarily and does not have the physical element. The physical element involves more than just an act, the act must be willed, or in the case of omission, a willed inactivity. Accordingly, the physical element has a mental element, consisting of a simple, or bare intention of committing the act. The defendant’s mind must be in control of their body.

Regardless whether the physical element involved amounts to a positive act or omission, there is an overriding requirement that the act or omission must be voluntary. If Logan has not acted voluntarily, then the physical element requirements of the offence will not be satisfied and Logan will not be guilty. Lord Denning in Bratty,5 stated that an involuntary act means an act which is done by the muscles without any control of the mind such as a spasm, a reflex action, or a convulsion. It could be said that the requirement is that the conduct be caused by the conscious exercise of the power of choice. It could be said that in some cases the physical opportunity may be removed such in this case for Logan given that Patrick the driver of the motor vehicle was driving at high speeds around tight bends, which caused Logan to land on Lizzy’s lap would make Logan’s actions involuntary. However, the court will need to determine whether Logan been ‘flung’ was an involuntary act.

The prosecution must prove that Logan’s act was voluntary. The voluntary act would at minimum be a willed muscular contraction.6 In other words, a connection between the conscious mind and the bodily movement. For an act to be involuntary, it must be a muscle spasm without going through the mental process. Logan’s lawyer could argue that the speed and manner in which Patrick was driving the motor vehicle could be contrary to a voluntary act of a conscious mind. That Logan having been flung into Lizzy’s lap was not an act which constitutes a crime and that Logan’s action was not voluntary, a voluntary act between the mind and the body. In Ryan,7 the fact that the appellant pointed a gun which was loaded and cocked and then discharged the gun in a reflex movement failed to claim involuntariness as he had consciously put himself in that position with the firearm.

The offence committed by the defendant must deliberate before the accused can be held criminally responsible.8 An act is not deliberate if it was not voluntary.9 Commonly a person will describe an involuntary act as being an accidental one.10 In Logan’s case, the act must have been a willed act. In Katarzynski, 11 a spontaneous, unintended reflex action is not itself a voluntary act. However, the act of the accused that caused the death is a matter of fact to be considered in light of all the conduct of the defendant that led up to the act that caused the harm.12 Logan’s Lawyer could argue that his act was not deliberate or willed and one that he could not have controlled given by the speed the vehicle was driven and its terrain. That there was a disconnection between the willed act and the conduct, make it an involuntary movement.

The prosecution must prove that the act by Logan which caused the offence to Lizzy was voluntary and a willed act on the part of Logan. An act is not done deliberate if it was not voluntary that is not willed by