Law Case Summary
R v Moloney  1 AC 905
Murder – Mens Rea – Intention – Foresight
The defendant and his stepfather who had a friendly and loving relationship were engaged in a drunken competition to see which of them could load a shotgun faster than the other. Moloney won, and was then challenged by his stepfather to fire the gun. He did, killing his stepfather instantly. Moloney was charged with murder and convicted. He appealed and the Court of Appeal allowed appeal to the House of Lords.
Did the mens rea of murder require direct intent to kill or cause serious bodily harm, or was foresight of a serious likelihood of harm occurring sufficient? Whether the jury was to infer intent if they were satisfied that the accused foresaw that death or serious injury was a natural consequence of his act?
The House of Lords allowed Moloney’s appeal. He had not intended to kill his stepfather. Knowledge of foresight of the consequences of an action were to be considered at best material from which a crime of intent may be inferred. Where the defendant’s purpose was other than to cause serious bodily harm or death to another then the jury may infer intent if the consequence of the defendant’s act was a natural consequence, and the defendant foresaw that this was a natural consequence of his act. The jury in such a circumstance should be directed that they may infer intent, but were not bound to infer intent, if both these circumstances are satisfied. Foresight of the natural consequences of an act is no more than evidence of the existence of intent.
Cite This Work
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:
Related ServicesView all
Related ContentJurisdictions / Tags
Content relating to: "UK Law"
UK law covers the laws and legislation of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Essays, case summaries, problem questions and dissertations here are relevant to law students from the United Kingdom and Great Britain, as well as students wishing to learn more about the UK legal system from overseas.
The Consumer is Finally Adequately Protected
Together, the Sale of Goods Act 1979, The Consumer Protection Act 1987, and the General Product Safety Regulations from 2005, provide protection ......
A Criminally Liable is Established
A Criminally liable is established if the accused has been responsible for certain conduct proscribed by the criminal law and in relation to this conduct, the accused had the appropriate state of mind laid down by the law....