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Omissions cases

Omissions definition Failure to act, starting point is that an omission CANNOT complete actus reus. There are 6 exceptions to this rule, all where there is a DUTY to ACT. Crime must be capable of being committed by omission
Exception (1) statutory duty s.5 Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004 Any adult that lives in the house as victim (child or vulnerable adult) and fails to take reasonable steps to protect V
Pittwood Railway keeper omitted to shut gates, person killed Omissions (exception = contractual duty) D had contractual duty to keep gate shut - employment contract can create duty to act and breach can create criminal liability
Gibbins & Proctor Omissions (exception = relationship)Father & new partner deliberately starved girl to death. Duty because of a relationship - father had duty as parent and partner had duty as she had cared for other children
Dytham Omissions (exception = official position) Police officer failed to intervene or take steps to help V being kicked to death, 30 yards away. As a policeman D should have taken some action A02: fairness? - when does the duty end?
Miller Omissions (exception = DANGEROUS chain of events)Squatter set fire to mattress and did nothing to put it out or take reasonable steps to deal with it (went into next room and fell asleeep) Duty arising from D causing a dangerous chain of events
DPP v Santana Bermudez Omissions (exception = DANGEROUS chain of events)Policewoman injured by needle as D failed to tell her was in pocket D created dangerous situation so could not omit to act
Lowe Omissions (crime must be capable of being committed by omission)Father (low IQ) and breached parental duty of care - daughter died of illness (but had told wife!) unlawful act manslaughter must be an 'act' not omission so D acquitted
Airedale NHS Trust v Bland Victim of hillsborough disaster in vegetative state for 3 years - doctors got permission to stop feeding him (passive act to withdraw treatment) Passive act is NOT an omission if in BEST INTERESTS of patient (act = discontinuation of treatment by doctors)
Khan and Khan (development of the law of omissions by the courts) D's supplied heroin to new user who collapsed and they left her alone, she died. CA quashed conviction.Problems when duty exists. CA expanding situations - fail to get medical assistance COULD be an offence A02: implications of this?
Fagan v MPC (continuing act) Drove onto poiceman's foot by accident, but refused to move(assault)Fagan had completed an act not an omission! Must be a TRUE OMISSION, not just an act that looks like an omission. Normal rule is that an omission cannot complete the actus reus of a crime
Created by: Rich Whitaker
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