Criminal Law Coursework Example
Murder is broadly defined as an illegal killing. Illicit killing is perhaps the deed most often besieged by the criminal law. The crime of murder, in many jurisdictions, is divided into a variety of gradations of brutality, for example, killing in the first degree, in the basis on intention. Malice is a required element of murder crime. Manslaughter is a minor variety of murder committed as a lack of malice, which is brought about by diminished capacity, or reasonable provocation. As defined in the Criminal law, murder is a guilty homicide with precise intentions. Illicit killing can occur either by an omission or an act (Joshua 2001).
Murder is classified into either first degree or second degree murder. First degree murder is a severe murder planned and deliberated in a brutal way against one individual or more persons, under exceptional circumstances. Murder arises when an individual who causes the demise of a human being intended to cause his/her death, or intended to cause him/her physical harms; murderer knows that it is probable to contribute to someone’s death and is irresponsible whether death results or not. It also occurs when a person, for an illegal intention, does something that might cause death, and thus it results in a person’s death, notwithstanding that he wishes to implement his intention without causing bodily harm or death to any human being (Criminal Code 1985).
It is clear from the story that Azad had borne a grudge against his neighbor Ben ever since Ben spoilt Azad’s view of the sea by building an extension to his house. Since then, Azad had developed hatred against Ben. Azad suffered from a depressive condition, causing him to become periodically aggressive. This further amplified the hatred because Azad believed that if Ben had not spoiled his view, he would not have suffered from depression. Ben also insulted Azad one morning by calling him an eccentric and obsessive creep. As a depressed person, Azad could have responded to this insult in any possible and unpredicted way.
In the afternoon of the same day after the insult, Azad saw Ben walking under a nearby bridge. With the intention of frightening him, Azad pushed a large rock over the bridge which hit Ben and fractured his skull. Although we have been told that his intention was to frighten him, the cause of intention was beyond just frightening, based on the previous incidences. One can argue that Azad’s action was a mean of revenging what Ben has caused him. Furthermore, this incident occurred the same day when Ben insulted Azad, which is sufficient evidence that Azad’s intention was beyond frightening Ben. Azad knew that pushing a large stone on Ben could cause severe harm on him or even kill him. According to Criminal Code of Canada, article 229, a person is held liable for murder if the person does something he knows might cause death, and thus causes death to a person, notwithstanding that he wishes to implement his intention without causing bodily harm or death to any human being (Criminal Code 1985).
Although Ben did not die immediately after the injury, and maybe if he had been attended to on time by the doctors he might not have succumbed to dead, he still could not have been in that condition if Azad had not pushed a large rock on him. In this case, we neither lay blame on an ambulance which took over an hour to arrive owing to foggy driving conditions, nor the doctor who was busy with other patients and forgot to examine Ben for two hours. The person to be blamed is the one who puts Ben into that condition. Consequently, Azad should indeed be held liable for the death of Ben, based on the murder criminal law.
In spite of Azad’s liability for the murder of Ben, he can still defend himself from the allegations. First, he had no intention to commit murder as per the context. He had suffered depressive condition because of what Ben did to him. Azad initially lived in a house with a sea view before Ben builds an extension to his house, which spoilt Azad view of the sea. Many people who build houses at areas where they can have good sea view do it on purpose. Some do so in order to feel and experience the nature, others do so for comfort, while others for luxurious and other reasons.
Azad can defend himself by stating that the major reason for building a house in that geographical reason was because of the sea view. May be he built the house at the cost of other important things, only to be spoiled by Ben, who built an extension which blocked Azad’s view of the sea. As a result, Azad suffered from depression, which caused him to become periodically aggressive.
The guilty mind of murder is either an intention to kill or an intention to cause grievous bodily harm. In Moloney, Lord Bridge it was obvious that, for the defendant to have the guilty mind of murder, there has to be something more than simple prudence or understanding that death or a serious harm is a natural outcome of the present activities; most importantly, there should be apparent evidence of intent. This intent is not merely proved when the motive or purpose of the defendant is to kill or cause severe physical harm, but when grievous bodily harm or death is a practically certain outcome of the defendant's deed.
As stated in the story, Azad’s intention was to frighten Ben, so that he will be afraid of him and know that he is not pleased with his deeds. Azad had no direct intention to kill Ben, it just happen as a consequence of his act to frighten him. There is no apparent evidence of the intention to kill. Although he only wanted to frighten him, it happened that Ben sustained skull fracture. Ben’s death can be connected to an ambulance, which took over an hour to arrive, owing to foggy driving conditions delay to be attended to by a doctor who was busy with other patients that he forgot to examine Ben for two hours. This does not imply that ambulance and the doctor are responsible for the death of Ben. The incident just occurred at the time when ambulance was not easily accessible, and the doctor was busy examining other patients who needed his attention.
The act of frightening Ben was as a result of depressive condition Azad suffered which Ben himself caused. During the fateful day, Ben insulted Azad by calling him an eccentric and obsessive creep which only added pains and depression to him. As a depressed person, Azad acted out. Thought this is not a good reason to defense, Azad would not have acted that way if Ben had not insulted him in the morning of that day. If Ben had also not blocked Azad’s view of the sea by building an extension, Azad would not have suffered from depressive condition, which made him become periodically aggressive.
Some states allow circumstances that influence the stability of the mind to be considered as extenuating circumstances. This implies that a defendant may be found culpable of manslaughter, based on diminished liability instead of murder, if it is possible to prove that the defendant was suffering from a condition that influenced their judgment at the time of the act. Depression, medication side-effects and post-traumatic strain disorder are examples of situations that could be taken into account when evaluating responsibility.
If requested to show up to a medicinal emergency, a doctor has to do so. It is a legal and ethical obligation. There sometimes might be occasions, when being at a medicinal emergency is unsafe or not possible for the patient or doctor. In case a doctor decides not to be present, he may be needed to defend that judgment during the criminal prosecution or an accusation of professional misconduct.
Medical emergency is defined as an abrupt, unanticipated injury, complication or illness, demanding early or immediate professional concern to save ones life or avert gross pain, distress or disability. The instantaneous duty of the medical doctor faced with, or entitled to a medical crisis is to use his skills and knowledge to the relief of suffering and saving the life, and to set up the most favorable situation for the patient's recovery (Miles 1981).
During a medical emergency, a doctor is at peril of being criminally or professionally accountable if he fails to provide appropriate and prompt medicinal care to an individual, whether a patient is a new one or not. In the case of Ben, it is evident that he needed emergency medication but Zach, the doctor, failed to attend to him on time. Thought, it took some time before the ambulance arrived, Dr. Zach could have conducted an emergency medication on Ben, as a part of professional responsibility.
According to Robertson (Robertson et al 1992) the necessaries of life comprise food, shelter, clothing and medical attention. Lawful commentary believes that this section can be invoked if a therapeutic practitioner neglected to necessary supply systems or necessary medication to support the life of a patient. Zach is criminally liable for failing to supply necessary medication to support the life of Ben in the right time. He is lawfully held liable for neglecting his responsibility as a medical doctor. If Zach had given Ben emergency medication, Ben could have stood a high chance of survival.
In the earlier time, administering therapeutic treatment to patients who have lapsed into a profound coma was not undertaken, since the exhausted patient had very diminutive likelihood of survival. Presently, patients who become comatose due to an accidental injury or a disease can be treated in the logic that a number of them will come back to sapient life. As a result, every individual who has become unconscious tends to be administered as an emergency, in agreement with the sanctity and moral standards of beneficence of life, supported by the lawful principle of medical requirement (Mendelson). After two weeks of being in a coma, Ben still had a right to medication and life support system but Zach disconnected his life support system. Only when it is realized that the patient has developed a condition identified as a persistent vegetative state (PVS) Ben died during that night (Schneiderman, Jecker & Johnsen 1990). Zach is criminally liable for the death of Ben, according to the criminal law. No one has the right to take the life of another person regardless of the condition. Zach committed another criminal offense when he administered to Carl a large dose of a pain-relieving drug which resulted in a Carl’s death within an hour.
- Dressler, J 2001. Understanding Criminal Law (3rd edition.). Lexis.
- Justice Law 1985. “Criminal Code”, viewed 8 January 2013.
- Miles S, Duncan A S, Dunstan G R, Welboum R B (eds). Dictionary of medical ethics. 2ndedition. Darton, Longman & Todd, London. 1981. 155-156.
- Mendelson D. Legal and Ethical Ramifications of Withdrawal of Life Support systems From Incompetent Patients. School of Law, Deakin University, Victoria. Viewed 8 January 2013.
- R v Matthews and Alleyne 2003., viewed 8 January 2013.
- Robertson et al 1992, “Adams on Criminal Law”. Brooker & Friend.
- Schneiderman L J, Jecker N S, Jonsen. Medical futility: its meaning and implications. Annals of Internal Medicine 1990; 112: 949 -954.