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Law, Fault Essay (Aqa)

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Fault Essay (30 marks)
Fault can be defined as legal responsibility or blame for an offence or misdeed. It also refers to the mental state of the defendant. The basic principle is that a D should be able to contemplate the harm that his actions may cause and should therefore aim to avoid such actions.
In general, a person cannot be criminally liable and subjected to criminal sanctions unless it can be proved that he carried out an illegal act in a blameworthy manner. An act does not make a man guilty of a crime unless his mind is also guilty.
The state of mind of the D is hugely important in assessing whether or not he is at fault. However, to be found guilty of most criminal offences (true crimes) both an AR and MR must be proved. The AR also includes elements of fault. These elements relate to the level of responsibility, a positive voluntary act is considered more blameworthy than an omission.
The AR of an offence must be voluntary or done with free will for there to be any criminal liability. The D must be in control pf their actions. There are in fact situations where the AR is involuntary and the D is therefore not at fault.
Automatism shows the D has no fault if they are not in control of the act they have committed. Quick for example could plead automatism as it was argued that the insulin he had taken made him attack a mental patient, therefore it was not his fault. This lack of fault is reflected in the outcome: a successful plea of automatism results in an acquittal. Self-defence is also a complete defence affecting the AR of a crime, but the D is saying ‘I did it, but there was a good reason to do so’. The case if Williams is a good example of this.
Exceptions to the rule that the AR must be voluntary are the ‘state of affairs’ cases. Here the D may not be at fault but is still liable (absolute liability) there is not fault requirements for the AR…...

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