Subjective Definition of Recklessness Essay

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Should the subjective definition of recklessness in criminal law be maintained?
The subjective definition of recklessness is where the defendant takes an unjustified risk and was actually aware of the consequence, has been seen here to be the best approach when understanding reckless behaviour. Although within criminal law, the term recklessness has a second definition which is known to be objective recklessness. The objective definition argues that a person is reckless when the defendants take an unjustified risk and was actually aware or should have been aware. This essay establishes that the subjective definition of recklessness takes into account the individuals characteristics, the mental state of a defendant but also help to understand certain cases like rape. It has also been established here that elements of the objective definition is an extension from the subjective definition of recklessness, which therefore allows the subjective side holds greater weight and in terms of looking at if the reasonable man may have be incapable of foreseeing a consequence. Thus, it has been argued here that the subjective definition of recklessness in criminal law must be maintained.
The establishment of the Subjective definition of recklessness was through the case of Cunningham. In R v Cunningham D broke a gas metre to steal money contained within the metre, leading to a gas leak which caused D’s mother in law to become seriously ill. The subjective definition was developed here as D had been reckless as he had realised there was a risk of gas escaping and endangering someone, and went ahead with his action anyway. Therefore, demonstrating the subjective definition that a defendant to be guilty under Cunningham recklessness they must ...

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...983] 78 Cr App R 149

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 Erin C and Ost, S, The Criminal Justice System and Health Care(Oxford University Press 2007)
 Lacey N and Wells C, Reconstructing Criminal Law. Text and Materials (2nd edn, Butterworths 1998)
 Monaghan N, Criminal Law Directions. (2nd edn, Oxford University Press 2012)
 Norrie A, Crime, Reason and History. A Critical Introduction to Criminal Law (2nd edn, Cambridge University Press 2001)
 Crosby C, “Recklessness –the Continuing Search for a Definition” (2008) J Crim L, 72 (4) 313
 Sullivan G.R, “Intent, subjective recklessness and culpability” (1992) OJLS, 12 (3) 380
 Williams G, “Redefined Recklessness” (1981) CLJ, 40 (2) 233

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