Exam Questions for Criminal Law

 

 

The essay and problem questions are worth 50 marks (a minute a mark).

The 'Statement questions' are worth five marks each statement - i.e. 20 marks in total (a minute a mark).

OCR past exam papers, specifications, and mark schemes, etc.

G143 Specimen Examination Paper

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[OCR Criminal Law paper - June 2010]

CL1. 'The Criminal Attempts Act 1981 was intended to improve the law on attempts. The extent to which it has succeeded is open to doubt.'

Critically evaluate the accuracy of this statement. [OCR Section A, June 10]

 

CL2. Discuss the view that the courts have clarified the mens rea of murder so that further legislation by Parliament is unnecessary. [OCR Section A, June 10 ]

 

CL3. 'The defence of duress is essential but, in its present form, unsatisfactory.'

Critically evaluate the accuracy of this statement. [OCR Section A, June 10]

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CL4. Alan is in a pub when he has a violent sneezing fit. The glass he is holding flies out of his had and hits Bradley, the barman, cutting his cheek. Bradley is an epileptic who has forgotten to take his medication. Bradley has an epileptic seizure and lashes out at a customer, Carol, kicking her before collapsing on the floor. Carol has drunk several glasses of orange juice which, unknwn to her, have been spiked with vodka and she kicks Bradley whilst he is on the floor, severely damaging his kidney. Carol then lurches towards Alan with a broken bottle in her hand. Alan thinks she is about to attack him and he punches Carol so hard that he knocks her out.

Alan is charged under sections 47 and 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, Bradley is charged under section 39 Criminal Justice Act 1988, and Carol is charged under section 18 Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and section 39 Criminal Justice Act 1988.

Discuss the defences which may be available to Alan, Bradley and Carol for these specific offences. [OCR Section B, June]

 

CL5. Yuri and Andrew are flat-sharing students. Whilst shopping, Yuri takes some sunglasses from a display and slips them into his pocket. He sees a shirt priced £50, swaps the price-tag for one marked £30 and pays the lower price. Andrew gives Yuri $50 for the gas bill. Yuri uses it to buy lottery tickets but wins nothing. Yuri buys a DVD and pays for it with a £10 note. The assistant mistakenly gives him change for a £20 note. Yuri realises this once he is outside the shop but keeps the money.

Andrew takes Yuri's football club season ticket from his room and returns the ticket three months later when only one match remains. Andres sees an exam paper on his professor's desk. He makes a photocopy and leaves the original on the desk.

Discuss the criminal liability for theft of Yuri and Andrew. [OCR Section B, June 10]

 

CL6. Sue, aged three, is at the beach with her mother, Fiona. Sue cannot swim but she paddles whilst Fiona sunbathes. Sue paddles until she is out of her depth but Fiona does not notice. Ted, the lifeguard at the beach is busy showing his rescue kit to his new girlfriend and pays no attention to Sue. Another holidaymaker, David, sees what has happened but decides to do nothing. Sue is washed back to shore and Fiona finds her gasping for breath and with a cut head. Fiona takes Sue to a hospital where she is seen by Doctor Cox. He tells Fiona that Sue is not badly hurt and Sue is left on a trolley in a corridor for three hours. When Doctor Cox returns, Sue has died from her head injury.

Discuss the criminal liability, if any, of Fiona, Ted, David and Doctor Cox for the manslaughter of Sue. [OCR Section B, June 10]

 

CL7. Tom and Carly are students in the same law class. Tom often teases Carly and tells her that she is stupid. Carly becomes clinically depressed. She decides to beat up Tom the next time he calls her stupid. Several days later Carly does badly in a test and Tom calls her stupid again. Carly waits until the end of the class, grabs Tom and smashes his head on a desk. Tom's skull is fractured and he dies.

Evaluate the accuracy of each of the four statements A, B, C, and D individually, as they apply to the facts in the above scenario.

Statement A: Carly can be charged with Tom's murder.

Statement B: Carly will not succeed with a defence of provocation because calling her 'stupid' is not that bad.

Statement C: Carly will not succeed with a defence of provocation because she does not kill Tom immediately.

Statement D: Carly will not succeed with a defence of diminished responsibility. [OCR Section C, June 10]

 

CL8. James and Brett decide to fight to settle an argument. Brett shoves James hard in the chest. James swings at Brett but misses him and hits Daniel, breaking Daniel's jaw. Brett then hits James causing minor concussion. Later Brett's girlfriend, Avril, asks Brett to tattoo the letter B on her arm to show that she loves him. Brett agrees but Avril gets blood poisoning.

Evaluate the accuracy of each of the four statements A, B, C, and D individually, as they apply to the facts in the above scenario.

Statement A: Brett is liable for battery when he shoves James even though he and James had agreed to fight.

Statement B: James is not liable for inflicting grievous bodily harm because he was aiming at Brett, not Daniel.

Statement C: Brett is not liable for assault occasioning actual bodily harm when James suffers concussion.

Statement D: Brett is not liable for Avril's blood poisoning because she asked him to give her the tattoo. [OCR Section C, June 10]

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[OCR Criminal Law paper - February 2010]

CL9. 'Mens Rea requires fault on the part of the defendant. The current law on both intention and recklessness is uncertain and unjust.'

Critically evaluate the accuracy of this statement. [OCR Section A, February 10]

 

CL10. 'The current definition of appropriation does not give effect to Parliament's original intention in the Theft Act 1968.'

Discuss the extent to which this statement is true. [OCR Section A, February 10]

 

CL11. 'The defence of intoxication reflects the difficult balance between between legal principle and public policy.'

Critically evaluate the accuracy of this statement. [OCR Section A, February 10]

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CL12. Sarah is walking home when Colin runs towards her waving a knife. Sarah screams. Colin grabs Sarah's coat and then punches her in the face which breaks her nose and causes her to fall to the ground. Gregory, a passer-by runs to help Sarah. Colin lunges wildly at Gregory with the knife and slashes Gregory's hand, causing severe bleeding. Colin takes aim and kicks Sarah in the stomach, causing serious internal injuries.

Colin runs off. Sarah and Gregory are taken to hospital. Nicola, who is wearing a white coat, tells Gregory he needs stitches. Gregory agrees and Nicola is stitching his hand when Doctor Crowley comes into the room and says to Nicola, "Stop, you're only a student!"

Discuss the potential criminal liability of both Colin and Nicola, including any relevant defences. [OCR Section B, February 10]

 

CL13. Anya, 20, lives with her boyfriend Samir, 45. Samir makes Anya have sex with his friends and is violent when drunk. Anya has tried to commit suicide several times and her doctor has prescribed anti-depressants. Samir comes home drunk, hits Anya and tells her she must have sex with three of his friends later. Anya takes an overdose of anti-depressants but is violently sick immediately. Samir laughs at Anya and tells her to be ready to meet his friends in two hours. Anya thinks for an hour and decides she has had enough. Samir has fallen asleep watching television. Anya grabs a heavy lamp and smashes it over Samir's head repeatedly, killing him.

Discuss the criminal liability, if any, of Anya. [OCR Section B, February 10]

 

CL14. Jin is in a supermarket queue. Jin watches Amy squeeze into the queue ahead of him. Jin is angry and tries to push Amy out of the queue. Amy loses her balance and falls into an elderly couple, Fred and Wanda. Fred has a heart condition and the shock causes him to have a heart attack. Wanda falls; she suffers from brittle bone disease and breaks her hip.

In hospital Fred is put on a life-support machine but dies three hours later. Wanda recovers but before she goes home Doctor Sugar gives her an antibiotic injection. He is busy and does not check whether Wanda has any allergies. Wanda has a massive allergic reaction and dies.

Discuss the criminal liability, if any, of both Jin and Doctor Sugar for the manslaughter of Fred and Wanda. [OCR Section B, February 10]

 

CL15. Elsa decides to steal vodka from a shop. She has a gun in her pocket. Outside the shop she pulls out the gun but changes her mind and returns it to her pocket. Elsa still wants to steal some vodka so she enters the shop but discovers that the shop has no vodka. Angry, Elsa kicks a customer, Reynard, bruising his leg. Elsa runs out of the shop, slamming the glass door so hard it shatters.

Evaluate the accuracy of each of the four statements A, B, C, and D individually, as they apply to the facts in the above scenario.

Statement A: Elsa commits attempted robbery when she gets the gun out of her pocket.

Statement B: Elsa does not commit section 9(1)(a) burglary when she enters the shop.

Statement C: Elsa commits robbery when she kicks Reynard.

Statement D: Elsa commits section 9(1)(b) burglary when she breaks the shop door. [OCR Section C, February 10]

 

CL16. Jerome owns a riverside hotel. Simon, the barman, is told not to serve intoxicated customers. Simon sells lager to Tony who is clearly very drunk. Part of Simon's job is to clean the drains weekly but he often fails to do this. As a result, toxic chemicals build up in the drains and leak into the river, killing fish. Jerome buys meat which a vet has checked. The meat makes the hotel customers ill. Jerome lets a house a mile away to students. The police raid the house and find that the students are growing cannabis plants.

Evaluate the accuracy of each of the four statements A, B, C, and D individually, as they apply to the facts in the above scenario.

Statement A: Jerome commits a strict liability offence when Simon sells lager to Tony.

Statement B: Jerome does not commit a strict liability offence when the fish die.

Statement C: Jerome commits a strict liability offence as the house where the students are growing cannabis plants belongs to him.

Statement D: Jerome does not commit a strict liability offence when customers are ill after eating meat in his hotel. [OCR Section C, February 10]

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[OCR Criminal Law paper - June 09.]

CL17. 'The rules and principles of causation not only provide fair practical solutions to the problems of criminal liability but also are founded on sound moral principles.'

Discuss this statement using references to decided cases to illustrate your answer. [OCR Section A, June 09]

 

CL18. 'Modern day society dictates that a number of situations should be excluded from the requirement that criminal liability should be based upon the proof of a guilty mind.'

Consider, in the light of the above comment, whether you agree that the creation of strict liability offences can ever be justified. [OCR Section A, June 09]

 

CL19. Discuss whether the rules governing insanity as a defence in criminal law are in a satisfactory state or whether they are in need of reform. [OCR Section A, June 09]

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CL20. Sachin enters a post office, points a gun at George, who is serving behind the counter, and says, 'Hand over all the money'. George says 'Get lost!" Sachin aims at George's arm and pulls the trigger, but the gun fails to work. In panic, Sachin runs out of the door. Within seconds, George, who has a weak heart, collapses on to the floor in shock. An ambulance is called but George dies shortly afterwards, before professional treatment arrives.

Discuss the potential criminal liability of Sachin for the above incidents. [OCR Section B, June 09]

 

CL21. Maya and Christina decide to go out for the night. They meet at Christina's house and begin the evening by drinking several glasses of gin. When they arrive at a pub, Christina orders drinks. The barman, Shaun, asks them for proof of age and Maya, who thinks Shaun is insulting them, picks up a glass of lager from the bar and throws the contents in Shaun's face. When Terry, another customer, steps foward to intervene, Christina mistakenly thinks he is going to grab Maya so she picks up another glass and smashes it into Terry's face, gouging out his eye.

Discuss the offences which Maya and Christina may have committed and any potential defences they may have available to them. [OCR Section B, June 09]

 

CL22. Matt is in debt to Joey, a drug dealer, who says that he wants repayment in full in a week's time or Matt will regret it. Matt works as an assistant in his local corner shop and decides to go back after dark and steal the day's takings from the safe. He enters the shop that night using the key issued to him by his employer, Ken.

Ken, who lives above the shop, has heard Matt making a noise and appears in the doorway just as Matt is opening the safe. Startled, Matt hits Ken over the head with a heavy torch knocking Ken unconscious. Matt takes Ken's wallet and runs out of the shop.

Discuss Matt's liability for any offences he may have committed under the Theft Act 1968 including any potential defences which may be available to him. [OCR Section B, June 09]

 

CL23. John decides to kill his wife, Martha, who is having an affair. He buys a knife and a bottle of vodka. He drinks the vodka and returns home to find his wife's friend, Andrea, waiting to talk to him. John loses his temper as soon as Andrea begins telling him that Martha has moved out to go and live with her. He takes out the knife and stabs Andrea, killing her.

Evaluate the accuracy of each of the four statements A, B, C, and D individually, as they apply to the facts in the above scenario.

Statement A: John cannot be charged with murder because he was only planning to kill Martha, not Andrea.

Statement B: John will be successful in reducing a potential conviction from murder to manslaughter by pleading intoxication as a defence.

Statement C: John cannot plead provocation as a defence because he did not react immediately when he first saw Andrea.

Statement D: John will not be successful in reducing a potential conviction from murder to manslaughter because there is no evidence of deliberate provocation by Martha. [OCR Section C, June 09]

 

CL24. Aisha is sitting on a train opposite another passenger, Ravi. When the train pulls into a station Ravi suddenly realises it is his stop and gets off, apparently unaware that a £50 note has fallen from his pocket. Aisha picks it up and puts it in her purse. Ravi realises his mistake and gets back on the train. Ravi asks Aisha whether she has seen any money left behind and Aisha says 'No'.

Evaluate the accuracy of each of the four statements A, B, C, and D individually, as they apply to the facts in the above scenario.

Statement A: Aisha cannot be guilty of theft because money is not property.

Statement B: Aisha cannot be guilty of theft because she has not been dishonest when she puts the £50 note into her purse.

Statement C: Aisha cannot be guilty of theft because the £50 note has been abandoned by Ravi.

Statement D: Aisha is guilty of theft because she did not give it back to Ravi when asked. [OCR Section C, June 09]

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[OCR Criminal Law paper - January 09.]

CL25. 'English Law does not normally impose liability or failure to act despite the fact that there may be compelling moral justifications for doing so. For example, the courts have often explained that there is no legal duty upon a stranger to rescue a drowning child.'

Consider whether the current legal principles governing omissions are satisfactory. [OCR Section A, January 09.]

 

CL26. 'Despite calls for reform, the law relating to provocation as a special and partial defence to murder remains muddled and occasionally unjust.'

Consider the truth of the above statement. [OCR Section A, January 09.]

 

CL27. Discuss the argument that the justifiable use of force in self-defence depends entirely upon the circumstances in which it is used. [OCR Section A, January 09]

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CL28. Wayne belongs to a terrorist organisation. He telephones the police to say that he has placed a bomb in a van on Westminster Bridge and confirms that it is timed to explode in fifteen minutes. The police telephone operator mistakenly thinks that Wayne has said 'fifty minutes' and immediately communicates this information to his superior officer. The bridge is closed and people and vehicles are cleared within ten minutes leaving only one van with no driver.

Fifteen minutes after the original telephone call, Martin, a bomb disposal expert approaches the van wrongly believing that the bomb will not explode for at least thirty minutes, but is killed instantly when the bomb explodes.

Wayne claims that he was only trying to cause disruption and that he never wanted to harm anyone.

Consider Wayne's potential liability for the death of Martin. [OCR Section B, January 09.]

 

CL29. Tom and Simon are heroin addicts sharing a flat. They steal goods which they sell to finance their habit. Tom knows that his father, Roger, has put a bike in the shed at the top of his garden saying that he does not use it anymore. One night, Tom sneaks round to his father's garden shed and takes the bike with a view to selling it.

Simon drinks half a bottle of whisky and, while Tm is out, searches through Tom's jackey intending to take any money he might find. He does not find any, so he drinks the rest of the bottle of whisky and walks to the local supermarket. There he places several items inside his coat unaware that Ayesha, a store detective, is watching him. As soon as he passes the cash till without paying for any of the items Ayesha stops him. Simon pushes Ayesha aside causing her to fall and bruise her arm. Simon then runs out of the store.

Discuss the potential criminal liability of Tom and Simon for the above incidents together with any defences which may be available to them. [OCR Section B, January 09]

 

CL30. Rio plays for Newtown Athletic football team. He has an important match against a local team. Soon after the kick-off, Rio, while jumping to head the ball, is involved in a clash of heads with an opposing player, Didier, causing a swelling to Didier's cheek. Rio, himself, receives a nasty blow to his head and appears to be concussed and dizzy. Rio insists on continuing after treatment but is still in a dazed condition. A few minutes later, Rio jumps wildly into a late tackle on Didier. Didier is carried off and x-rays later reveal that he has a broken leg.

The referee, Ellery, raises a red card to send Rio off the pitch, Rio is furious and punches Ellery causing a cut on Ellery's eyebrow.

Discuss Rio's potential criminal liability for the above incidents together with any defences which may be available to him. [OCR Section A, January 09]

 

CL31. Damian and Juan are arguing and Damian pulls out a knife. Juan runs into the road and knocks over a cyclist, Brenda, who then falls under a speeding car driven by Manuel. Juan suffers brusing and Brenda suffers head injuries. Brenda has an unusually thin skull and dies.

Evaluate the accuracy of each of the four statements A, B, C, and D individually, as they apply to the facts in the above scenario.

Statement A: Damian is not liable for an assault on Juan because he did not hurt Juan in the first place.

Statement B: Damian is not liable for the bruising suffered by Juan because he did not hurt Juan in the first place.

Statement C: Damian is not liable for the death of Brenda because she has an unusually thin skill.

Statement D: Damian is not liable for the death of Brenda because it was unforeseable that she would be run over by the speeding car driven by Manuel.  [20 mark question] [OCR Section C, January 09]

 

CL32. Rashid suffers from diabetes. He has previously suffered blackouts due to hyperglcaemia and been placed on medication which he normally takes three times per day. He fails to take his insulin for a whole day and during the evening, while driving, he suffers from a blackout. He loses control of his car and crashes into a pedestrian. Larissa, who is on the pavement. Larassa dies instantly.

Evaluate the accuracy of each of the four statements A, B, C, and D individually, as they apply to the facts in the above scenario.

Statement A: Rashid may be charged with the manslughter of Larissa because the condition was self-induced.

Statement B: Rashid may plead the defence of automatism

Statement C: Rashid may be found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Statement D: Rashid may be hospitalised in a secure institution for the mentally disorded if found 'not guilty by reason of insanity'. [20 mark question] [OCR Section C, Jun 09]   

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[OCR Criminal Law paper - June 08.]

CL33. 'Strict liability offences promote high standards of behaviour, protect the public and guard against dangerous activities. They are not only necessary but perfectly justifiable in a complex modern society.'

Consider the validity of the statement using relevant cases to illustrate your answer. [OCR Section A, Jun08]   

 

CL34. Discuss whether the common law governing the offence of murder is satisfactory or is in need of reform by Parliament.

(Do not consider causation issues in answering this question.) [OCR Section A, Jun08]

 

CL35. 'The law relating to the defence of insanity is outdated and unsatisfactory. Reform is long overdue in the interests of both justice and common sense.'

Evaluate the accuracy of this statement. [OCR Section A, Jun08]

CL36. Alex and Barry are on the pavement arguing about a debt. Alex, who has been drinking excessively, suddenly lashes out at Barry with his fist, breaking Barry's nose. Barry runs into the road where he is struck by a motorcycle. Barry suffers a large wound to hs leg.

Barry is bleeding heavily from a severed artery in his leg and is rushed to hospital. Barry refuses to have a blood transfusion because of his religious beliefs even though it would probably save his life. He dies later that day from loss of blood.

Discuss the potential criminal liability of Alex for the above incidents. [OCR Section B, Jun08]

 

CL37. Sanjit, while playing a football match, tackles Aaron fairly although Aaron's shin is bruised in the challenge. Seconds later Aaron deliberately head butts Sanjit and knocks him unconscious for a minute. The referee sends Aaron off and Sanjit has to leave the pitch for treatment and is replaced by a substitute.

In the changing room, Sanjit, now fully recovered, decides to get his own back on Aaron. He takes a leather jacket belonging to Aaron. Aaron comes through the doorway and sees what is happening. He tries to stop Sanjit who pushes Aaron to the floor. Sanjit then runs off with the jacket.

Discuss the potential criminal liability of Aaron and Sanjit for the above incidents.[OCR Section B, Jun08]

 

CL38. While shopping, Susan places some items of food in the wire basket which is provided. She also hides a bottle of perfume in her coat pocket. She then takes a price label off an expensive CD, switches it with the price label from a reduced price CD, and places the expensive one in the basket. She goes to the checkout and only pays for the items in the basket.

Outside the shop, Susan sees a bike which was there when she went in and which she remembers seeing there for several days. She rides home on it alongside a caravan park. She notices a personal CD player on a table inside one of the caravans. She goes inside and takes the CD player. She leaves the bike at the end of her road and goes home.

Discuss Susan's potential criminal liability for the above incidents.[OCR Section B, Jun08]

 

CL39. Matt is in debt. He enters a shop intending to threaten the shop assistant with a gun in order to force him to hand over money. Inside the shop, Matt changes his mind, without getting the gun out of his pocket, when he sees CCTV cameras pointing at the counter. In his frustration, as he is leaving, he pushes another customer, Andrea, to the floor.

Evaluate the accuracy of each of the four statements A, B, C, and D individually, as they apply to the facts in the above scenario.

Statement A: Matt is not liable for burglary because he does not steal anything from the shop.

Statement B: Matt is liable for attempted robbery when he enters the shop.

Statement C: Matt is liable for robbery when he pushes Andrea to the floor.

Statement D: Matt is not liable for a battery against Andrea because it was not part of his original plan. [20 mark question] [OCR Section C, Jun08]

 

CL40. Holly lives with Ian. Ian frequently hits Holly. He threatens her that if she tries to leave him she will 'pay'. One evening Holly and Ian argue and Ian calls her 'a worthless slave'. Ian goes to bed. Holly watches television for two hours and drinks a bottle of vodka. On her way to the bedroom Holly takes a knife from the kitchen and, seeing Ian asleep, stabs him in the chest killing him instantly. Evaluate the accuracy of each of the four statements A, B, C, and D individually, as they apply to the facts in the above scenario.

Statement A: Holly cannot plead provocation as a defence to a charge of murder because there is no evidence that she has been provoked.

Statement B: Holly still cannot plead provocation as a defence because her loss of self-control was not 'immediate'.

Statement C: Holly will be sucessful in reducing her potential conviction for murder to voluntary manslaughter because she lost her self-control.

Statement D: Holly will be successful in reducing her potential conviction from murder to manslaughter by pleading intoxication as a defence. [20 mark question] [OCR Section C, Jun08]

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[OCR Criminal Law - January 08.]

CL41. 'Law should encourage citizens in their civic duty to do 'the right thing' in a moral sense and not to turn a blind eye or to fail to act to help someone who is in need.'

Consider to what extent the criminal law relating to omissions (failures to act) reflects this view. [OCR Section A, Jan08]

 

CL42. 'The offence of burglary has been defined by Parliament. However, it has been left to decisions of the courts to clarify most of the key ingredients of the offence.'

Evaluate the above statement. [OCR Section A, Jan08]

 

CL43. 'The law on consent as a defence to offences against the person recognises that the causing of deliberate harm may sometimes be justified.'

Consider the truth of this statement. [OCR Section A, Jan08]

 

CL44. Zandra, who is aged 16, has had an unhappy childhood. She has left home and has turned to drugs and prostitution. She is leaving with Shaun, aged 33, who is a weightlifter. Shaun regularly forces Zandra to give him her earnings. He is jealous and possessive and has beaten her on a number of occasions. She is immature and has often harmed herself to seek attention. One night, fearing that Shaun will beat her up and force her to have sex with him, Zandra cuts her wrists. When Shaun comes into the lounge and sees what she has done, he taunts her saying she has made a pathetic job of slashing her wrists. Zandra goes to her bedroom to get her knife, returns to the lounge and stabs Shaun in the chest killing him instantly.

Discuss Zandra's potential liability for the murder of Shaun.[OCR Section B, Jan08]

 

CL45. Raul and Christiano are standing in a queue at a bus stop when they begin arguing with one another. Raul pushes Christiano who staggers backwards and collides with Margaret, an 83 year old lady. Margaret falls backwards onto the pavement. She is injured and in pain. Margaret is taken to hospital where x-rays reveal that she has broken her hip. Doctors agree that the injuries are made wrose partly because she suffers from osteoporosis (a disease which makes her bones unusually brittle).

Although Margaret is elderly, Doctor Smith decides to operate in order to allow Margaret to have any chance of being able to walk in future. A few days later, Margaret is recovering slowly from the operation when she develops a secondary infection. Doctor Smith prescribes Margaret penicillin but she is allergic to the drug and dies.

Discuss the potential liability of both Raul and Doctor Smith for the death of Margaret. [[OCR Section B, Jan08]

 

CL46. Sinita and Mina share a flat. One night Sinita finds Mina kissing Sinita's boyfriend, Alberto. She picks up a glass of water, raises it in the air and shouts at Mina, "You hussy, I'll kill you!" She tries to throw the water at Mina but the glass slips from her hand and strikes Mina in the face cutting her forehead.

Alberto is so angry that he pushes Sinita and she falls backwards over a stool onto the floor and is knocked unconscious for a few seconds. When Sinita recovers consciousness she is still dizzy and stumbles towards Mina knocking her on to the floor. Mina suffers a fractured arm.

Later that evening, when Sinita is sleeping, Mina gets a pair of scissors and cuts off Sinita's pony tail in an act of revenge.

Discuss the potential criminal liability of Sinita, Alberto and Mina for the above incidents. [OCR Section B, Jan08]

 

CL47. Ahmed owes Fernando money. Fernando tells Ahmed that unless he repays the debt he will reveal to Ahmed's wife that Ahmed is having an affair. Ahmed carries out a burglary to repay the debt. Ahmed is also a member of a shoplifting gang run by Spike. Spike emails Ahmed from Italy and orders Ahmed to collect a large quantity of heroin or Ahmed will be beaten up later that day. Ahmed collects the heroin.

Evaluate the accuracy of each of the four statements A, B, C, and D individually, as they apply to the facts in the above scenario.

Statement A: If Ahmed is charged with burglary the threat to reveal his affair will provide him with a valid defence.

Statement B: Ahmed is able to successfully plead a defence if charged with burglary because he had no choice but to commit a burglary to repay the debt.

Statement C: Ahmed is able to successfully plead a defence to a charge of possession of a controlled drug even though he is a member of Spike's gang.

Statement D: Ahmed is unable to successfully plead a defence to a charge of possession of a controlled drug because Spike is in Italy. [20 mark question] [OCR Section C, Jan08]

 

CL48. Gary is in debt. Darren's wife owes Gary £20. Gary sees Darren in the street and threatens to beat him up unless he gives him £20. Darren hands over the money. Gary sees an old lady, Dorothy, in the street. he tries to snatch a bag from her grip. He grabs the handle of the bag but she resists and the bag falls to the ground. Gary runs off.

Evaluate the accuracy of each of the four statements A, B, C, and D individually, as they apply to the facts in the above scenario.

Statement A: Gary is not liable for theft because Darren gives him the £20.

Statement B: Gary is not liable for robbery when Darren gives him the £20.

Statement C: Gary is not liable for the theft of Dorothy's bag.

Statement D: Gary is guilty of robbery when he grabs Dorothy's bag. [20 mark question [OCR Section C, Jan08]

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[OCR Criminal Law - June 07.]

CL49. 'Duress by threats is an important defence. It makes concessions to human frailty but it must not become an excuse for criminals, gang leaders and terrorists.'

Discuss whether the limitations which the courts have placed on the availability of the defence of duress by threats support the above statement. [OCR (Section A), Jun07]

 

CL50. 'Despite the development of the defence of automatism, a mentally disordered defendant is not always dealt with justly under English law.'

Consider the extent to which you agree with the above statement. [OCR (Section A), Jun07]

 

CL51. 'A person who genuinely attempts to commit a criminal offence and fails, still deserves to be punished just as much as a person who succeeds in committing an offence.'

Consider whether you agree with this view of attempts. [[OCR (Section A), Jun07]

 

CL52. Shane has been drinking heavily all evening and returns to what he believes is his own house. It is, in fact, an identical looking house a few doors down the road whose owner is away. When the key fails to open the door he finds a small window. He breaks the glass and lets himself in. Only then does he realise, in the dark, that he is in the wrong house. Whilst trying to find the light switch he knocks over an expensive piece of pottery which shatters on the floor.

Having switched on the light, he notices an umbrella in the hallway and takes it because it has started to pour with rain. Shane leaves and makes his way back to his own house.

Discuss Shane's criminal liability. [OCR (Section B), Jun07]

 

CL53. Mike, a drug dealer, meets Shirley, Rita and Zara in his house where he sells them heroin. Mike sees that Shirley is suffering from withdrawal symptoms and sympatheticallyÊsuggests that he inject her there and then with a 'shot' of heroin from a syringe which he prepares. Mike injects the heroin into Shirley's arm. he then helps Rita to prepare her arm so that she may inject herself with some heroin. Rita injects the heroin herself. Shirley, Rita and Zara then leave.

Next day Shirley and Rita die from the effects of the heroin. Zara is so overcome with grief that she injects herself with heroin and dies as a result. Medical evidence states that they have all died as a result of overdosing on the drug.

Discuss the liability of Mike for the manslaughter of Shirley, Rita and Zara. [OCR (Section B), Jun07]

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CL54 'Judicial decisions during the last fifteen years about provocation as a special and partial defence to murder suggest that provocation has become too wide in its application and is in need of reform.'

Critically consider whether there is any justification for this statement. [OCR (Section A), Jun06]

 

CL55.   Discuss the extent to which a person who commits an offence because they have been forced to do so against their will, may have a defence of either duress or necessity. [OCR (Section A), Jun06]

 

CL56. Asif has been pestering Samra for months. He telephones her every day saying he loves her. Samra tells him she does not like him and wants him to stop. He continues to call her every day and remains silent until she puts down the phone. Samra is now afraid to go out and has to seek psychiatric help for anxiety and headaches.  

She tells her boyfriend Zaheer what is happening. Zaheer sees Asif in the street and approaches him waving his fist and shouting ÒLeave Samra alone or I will kick your head inÓ. Asif mistakenly thinks Zaheer is about to hit him so he punches Zaheer in the face, cutting ZaheerÕs eyebrow and causing Zaheer to fall backwards and bang his head on the pavement. Zaheer is taken to hospital and he has to spend four days in hospital recovering from severe concussion.

Discuss Asif's liability for the above incidents.

(Ignore any offences that may have been committed under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.)  [OCR (Section B), Jun06]

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Special Study Examination Questions

The below questions relate to the Special Study subject area of 'Non-fatal Offences' which concluded in 2010. 

SS1 [Q1 - OCR, January 2010] [16 marks]

Discuss the extent to which the decision in the case of Wilson [Source 6 page 6 Special Study Material] represents a fair development of the defence of consent to offences against the person.

SS2 [Q2 - OCR, January 2010] [34 marks]

In Source 5 [page 5 lines 47-49 Special Study Material] Michael Jefferson quotes Clarkson and Keating who suggest that "Each of the non-fatal offences against the person is, to varying degrees, confused and uncertain ... in relation to each other, they are incoherent and fail to represent a hierarchy of seriousness."

Discusss how accurately the above statement reflects the judicial development of the law on the offences in sections 18, 20 and 47 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

SS3 [Q3 - OCR, January 2010]

Nick and Patti are boyfriend and girlfriend. They are both aged nineteen. Discuss whether a conviction for a non-fatal offence against the person is possible in each of the following situations:

a) Nick often slaps Patti hard. Nick tells their friends that Patti likes him to slap her, but Patti tells their friends that she does not really like it she just lets Nick do it because she wants to keep him happy. [10 marks]

b) Nick and Patti fall out. Patti tells Nick that she is dumping him. When Nick tries to get back with Patti, she waves her fists at Nick and threatens that if he ever comes near her again that she will kill him. [10 marks]

c) Nick sends Patti threatening text messages over several weeks. Patti becomes so alarmed and depressed by the texts that she suffers a psychiatric illness. [10 marks]

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The below questions relate to the Special Study subject area of 'Necessity and Duress' which concluded in 2009. 

SS4 [Q1 - OCR, June 2008] [12 marks]9

Discuss the significance of the case of Gotts [Source 4 Special Study Materials] to the development of the law on duress by threats.

SS5 [Q2 - OCR, June 2008] [30 marks]

In Source 8 Lord Justice Kennedy states that "The strength of the argument that a person ought to be permitted to breach the letter of the criminal law in order to prevent a greater evil to himself or others has long been recognised but has, in English law, not given rise to a general defence if necessity..."

Discusss how the courts have limited development of the defences of duress of circumstances and necessity in the light of the above statement. [30 marks]

SS6 [Q3 - OCR, June 2008]

Stella, Tima and Ursula are all prostitutes who pay money to Ralph, their pimp. Ralph has a criminal record for violent assaults.

Discuss whether any of the women would have a defence of duress available to them in relation to each of the following criminal charges.

a) Ralph sends Stella a text message one night saying that unless she pays Ralph £2,000 the following day Ralph will kill her. Stella steals money from an off-licence having threatened the shop assistant with a knife. [10 marks]

b) Ralph threatens Tina that he will tell Tina's husband that she is a prostitute and will kill Tina's pet dog unless she steals money from her husband. Tina steals money from her husband. [10 marks]

c) Ralph threatens that he will kill Ursula's children unless Ursula kills Violet. Ursula puts poison in Violet's drink but Violet does not like the smell of it and throws the drink away. [10 marks]

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SS7 [Q1 - OCR, January 2008] [12 marks]

Discuss the ways in which Pommell [Source 8 Special Study Materials] developed the defence of duress of circumstances.

SS8 [Q2 - OCR, January 2008] [30 marks]

In Source 1 Lord Lane states that "The law requires a defendant to have the self-control reasonably to be expected of the ordinary citizen in his siuation. It should likewise expect him to have the steadfastness reasonably to be expected of the ordinary citizen in his situation."

Discuss the limitations and restrictions on the defence of duress by threats developed by the courts in the light of the above statement. [30 marks]

SS9 [Q3 - OCR, January 2008]

Discuss whether or not the defence of duress would be available to the people accused of various crimes in each of the situations below.

a) Harriett steals goods from a local shop. Harriet claims that she only carried out the theft because her boyfriend Ian, who has several convictions for violence, threatened that he would beat Harriet severley if Harriet did not carry out the theft. [10 marks]

b) Jaz burns down his employer's factory. Jaz claims that he only did so after Kulwonder, an ex-workmate who was sacked, rang Jaz from India and said that he would harm Jaz's children when he returned from India if Jaz did not do it. [10 marks]

c) Louis commits a violent assault on Malcolm, his manager. Louis claims that he only carried out the assault because he was threatened by Neil, an ex-workmate who was sacked by Malcolm. Neil threatemed that he would tell Louis' wife that Louis was having an affair with one of the secretaries if Louis did not do it. [10 marks]

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SS10 [Q2 - OCR, June 2003] [15 marks]

Explain the contribution made by the case of Conway [Source 7 of the Special Study Materials] to the development of the defence of duress of circumstances.

SS11 [Q3 - OCR, June 2003] [30 marks]

Discuss the argument that judges in developing the defence of duress have made the defence too restrictive to provide a real "concession to human frailty" [Source 2 of the Special Study Materials].

SS12 [Q4 - OCR, June 2003] [30 marks]

Consider in each case whether or not the defence of duress would be available to the following people accused of various crimes:

(a) Paul steals a large sum of money from his employer's safe. He claims that a new employee, Roger, who knew him previously, threatened Paul that he would reveal to Paul's employees that Paul had previous convictions for theft unless Paul carried out the theft from his employer. [10 marks]

(b) Bert, who is a long term friend of Amos, carries out a violent assault on the boyfriend of Amos's daughter. Bert claims that he only carried out the assault because Amos, who had several convictions for violence, threatened that he would beat Bert to within an inch of his life, if Bert did not carry out the assault. [10 marks]

(c) Cath gives false evidence in the trial of Norma's daughter. When accused of perjury, Cath claims that she only gave false evidence after Norma rang her from France the day before the trial and said that she would kill Cath the following week when she returned from France, unless Cath complied. [10 marks]

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SS13 [Q2 - OCR, January 2004] [15 marks]

Precedents can sometimes be changed to avoid injustice. Examine whether the precedent in R v Howe (source 2 and source 3 Special Study Materials) leads to justice or injustice.

SS14 [Q3 - OCR, January 2004] [30 marks]

Jefferson (source 7 Special Study Materials) argues that there must be some kind of defence in circumstances such as those which occurred in Kitson, but adds also that Ôrecently the courts have shown themselves more amenable than previously in creating the defence.Õ

Analyse the extent to which this statement accurately reflects recent developments in the defence of duress of circumstances.

SS15 [Q4 - OCR, January 2004] [25 marks]

Silver, a sailor on GunnÕs yacht, owes a large sum of money to Benbow. Ben bow has a grudge against Gunn. Benbow threatens Silver that he will kill him unless Silver sinks GunnÕs yacht. Silver reluctantly agrees. While out at sea with Gunn and a young sailor Hawkins, Silver gets a phone call from Benbow threatening that Silver will be killed unless he kills Gunn at sea. In the middle of the night while Gunn and Hawkins are asleep Silver deliberately sinks the yacht and then leaves in the dinghy. Hawkins wakes and realises that the yacht is sinking. He wakes Gunn and they both jump into the sea were they manage to pull themselves onto a piece of wood that has broken off the sinking yacht. There are sharks in the water. Gunn, realising that the wood will not hold both their weights and that they will both be killed if it sinks, pushes Hawkins off into the water where Hawkins is killed by the sharks.

Silver and Gunn have both been charged with murder.

Advise them of any defences that may be available to either of them.

Candidates should assume that all parties are UK citizens and that the English courts do have jurisdiction to hear the case.

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SS16 [Q2 - OCR, June 2004] [15 marks]

Assess the significance of the case of Shephard [Source 6 of the Special Study Materials] to the defence of duress.

SS17 [Q3 - OCR, June 2004] [30 marks]

Clarkson & Keating argue that "The courts have come a long way in a short time in recognising that blame is inappropriate in circumstances of necessity." [Source 9 of the Special Study Materials]

SS18 [Q4 - OCR, June 2004] [30 marks]

Harry is a well-known, vicious drug dealer. Wally, Eunice and Beth who are all regular customers each owe him a considerable amount of money.

Advice whether any of them may have a possible plea of duress in each of the following situations:

(a) Wally robs a post office after Harry threatens that he will kill him unless Wally pays him back the next day. [10 marks]

(b) Eunice agrees to kill Beth for Harry when he threatens to reveal to her husband that she is in fact gay. Eunice waits outside Beth's house and attempts to murder her by stabbing her in the heart but Beth puts her handbag up in defence and the blade breaks on it. Beth is unharmed. [10 marks]

(c) Frightened by what has happened, Beth rushes into her house. Harry then sends Beth a text message threatening to kill her unless she steals money for him. Beth then steals money from her husband's wallet. [10 marks]

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The below questions relate to the Special Study subject area of 'Theft and Burglary' which concluded in 2007.

SS19 [OCR, June 2005] [30 marks]

In Source 1 (Special Study Materials) the author suggests that the main problem with statutory interpretation is that "the intention of Parliament must be established primarily from the words used by Parliament".

Compare the literal and purposive approaches to statutory interpretation in the light of the above statements.

SS20 [OCR, Jan 2006] [30 marks]

In Source 1 (Special Study Materials) the authors suggest that "The courts' primary task on interpretation is to ascertain and give effect to the meaning of the words used ... "Construction", on the other hand, is the process whereby uncertaintaies and ambiguities in a statute are resolved."

Consider, in the light of the above, the extent to which use of the literal rule and the golden rule, are effective in resolving ambiguities and uncertainties in statutes.

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SS21 [OCR June 2005] [15 marks]

Discuss the extent to which the decision in Hale (Source 4 of the Special Study Materials) can be said to represent Parliament's intention in the Theft Act 1968 s8.

SS22 [OCR Jan 2006] [15 marks]

Discuss the extent to which the decision in R v Walkington (Source 11 of the Special Study Materials) represents a development of the law on burglary.

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SS23 [OCR June 2005] [25 marks]

In Source 8 (Special Study Materials) Lord Justice Edmund Davies stated that unless there was "an effective and substantial entry" there ought to be no conviction for burglary.

Discuss the extent to which a trespass can amount to a burglary if it involves an 'effective and substantial entry' in light of the above statement.

 

SS24 [OCR Jan 2006] [25 marks]

In Source 3 (Special Study Materials) the author suggests that "under the Larceny Act 1916 the word "violence" had been used, but Parliament deliberately ... changed the word to "force". It is a word in ordinary use. It is a word that juries understand."

Discuss the attitudes of the courts to the offence of robbery in light of the above statement.

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SS25 [OCR June 2005] [30 marks]

Consider whether a conviction for burglary is possible in each of the following situations:

(a) Keith intends to enter the Viva Vino Off-Licence to steal the takings. In fact when he enters the owner, Pedro, has already taken all the money to the bank so Keith in frustration beats Pedro about the face breaking Pedro's nose and jaw. [10]

(b) Frank has been invited to dinner on Gerda's houseboat where she lives. While Garda is preparing the first course Frank happens to look into the bedroom. the door to which is slightly open, and he sees a diamond necklace lying on the bed. He sneaks into the bedroom and steals the necklace. [10]

(c) Paul breaks into his ex-girlfriends Halga's flat one night intending to beat her up. In fact Helga is away for the weekend. Paul is so angry that he smashes Helga's television and rips up all of her clothes. [10]

 

SS26 [OCR Jan 2006] [30 marks]

Consider whether a conviction for burglary is possible in each of the following situations:

(a) Rick a student has failed his exams. Chris Turner, his lecturer, invites Rick to his house to discuss why Rick failed. During the evening Rick goes to the bathroom. On his way he passes Chris Turners' study and through the open door sees a file of research notes which he knows is vital to Chris Turner. Rick enters the room and poors ink all over the notes making them unreadable. [10]

(b) Jack a student, intends to break into the house of Chris Turner, his lecturer, to steal lecture notes. Jack begins to prize open a window with a screwdriver and has his fingertips just inside the crack when Chris Turner returns home in his car. Chris Turner opens the window and then invites Jack in, not wishing to get Jack into trouble, and asks him why he was doing it. [10]

(c) Jaz, a student who has failed an exam, intends to enter the room of Chris Turner, his lecturer, to beat him up. In fact when Jaz enters the room Chris Turner has already left work for the evening so Jaz instead beats up Sukhy Silver, another lecturer, who shares the room with Chris Turner. [10]

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