Crime Exam Revision Notes Intention


The intention to bring about a certain consequence or the knowledge of the existence of that circumstance, maybe viewed as the highest degree of culpability that D can possess. Although most offences do not require proof of intention or knowledge, intention or knowledge will always suffice, and for some offences, such as murder and theft it must be proved.

The obvious meaning of intention in relation to a consequence is to act with the aim or purpose of bringing about that consequence.

The meaning of intention should not only be aim or purpose but also foresight of certainty or virtual certainty. There are two different kinds of intention :

*Direct intention- intention as aim or purpose
* Oblique intention- intention as foresight of certainty or virtual certainty without aim or purpose.

Issues of Proof

There is an important distinction between what the prosecution must prove, and how the prosecution must or may go about proving it. This is sometimes expressed as the distinction between substantive law and the law of evidence.

In the case of DDP V Smith [1961], obscured the importance of the distinction between what D intended and what a reasonable man would have foreseen, parliament had to intervene to re-establish it in the Criminal Justice Act 1967, s8 of which provides that :

A court or jury, in determing whether a person has committed an offence,-
(a) shall not be bound in law to infer that D intended to foresaw a result of his actions by reason only of its being a natural and probable consequence of those actions; but
(b)shall decide whether he did intend or forsee that result by reference to all the evidence, drawing such interferences from the evidence as appear proper in the circumstances.

This provision says nothing about whether intention or foresight must be proved in a particular offence.

Recent approaches to the meaning of intention

There is NO STATUTORY definition...

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