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Homework Question - Is Offender Liable for Murder Under Criminal Law?

Discussion in 'Australian Law School Homework Questions' started by Jackie Remeansen, 31 May 2016.

  1. Jackie Remeansen

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    So basically a person has threatened someone with a plank of wood and they've fallen out a window. They fell on their head and this caused hospitalisation due to brain trauma. The patient was recommended to stay under observation for 3 days but went home. Later that day, this person has died.

    Does that break the chain or is the offender who attacked her liable for murder under criminal law?
     
  2. Victoria S

    Victoria S Well-Known Member

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    Is this a homework question? Because it's a question of interpretation by a court, and would depend on a number of factors. It would not necessarily break the chain of causation, however, there would need to be post-mortem evidence linking the brain injuries for which the person was hospitalised to their death.
     
  3. Jackie Remeansen

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    See my thinking is that she didn't take the doctor's advice and would've survived had she stayed at the hospital. Unfortunately, the question is very vague so it gives both hypothetical circumstances. I've found precedent cases about neglect but can't find anything like this specific scenario.
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Forget about getting it right as in, yes it was murder, or no it wasn't murder.

    You can argue both ways. The Uni is testing your legal reasoning and as such this type of scenario has no 'right answer'. What is important is that you discuss the elements of murder, in particular is threatening with a plank sufficient for a charge of murder, does falling out the window matter, and as you mentioned is the chain of causation broken by the victim. Discuss it well and you'll get good marks.
     
  5. Victoria S

    Victoria S Well-Known Member

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    Yes further to Rod's comment, there is no yes or no - you need to weigh up both sides to get marks. You can also give consideration to similar and comparable scenarios in other cases and reason by analogy whether or not the chain of causation would be broken.
     

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