Causation will be relevant in result crimes. That is when it must be shown that D's (Defendant) conduct resulted in a particular outcome. In most cases, there will be no issue of causation to consider. The facts will make it obvious. However, when causation needs to be proven you must follow the steps below.
This is what you will need to include to get your A01 marks but make sure you only include what is relevant to the case.
It is necessary to firstly ask if the defendant in fact caused the consequence, In order to do this we use something called the "but for test"
The but for test asks: would the consequence have happened 'but for' D's action?
R v White
FACTS: D put cyanide into his mother's lemonade drink, but she died of heart failure before drinking the poison. The answer to the question 'But for what the defendant did would she have died?' is: 'No'; she would have even if he had not poisoned her drink. So he did not factually cause her death.
HELD: D was acquitted of murder because he had not factually caused his mother's death.
Factual causation is the first step but it is not enough. Just because someone is the factual cause of an outcome, this does not man they are legally culpable (guilty). This is why we must also prove legal causation.
In order to stablish legal causation we have to apply two principles. Keep in mind that the question of legal causation is linked to culpability and ask yourself if someone should be legally responsible for the consequence.
The Di Minimis principle : Is there more than a minimal link between D's action and the consequence?
R v Kimsey 1996
FACTS: The defendant was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. A close friend of the defendant overtook him and the two engaged in a high-speed chase. The friend, not in control of her car, struck an oncoming car, and was killed. The prosecution case was that the appellant’s driving had caused the friend’s loss of control.
HELD: The recorder told unforeseeablehat they did not have to be sure that the appellant’s driving ‘was the principal, or a substantial, cause of the death, as long as you are sure that it was a cause and that there was something more than a slight or a trifling link’.
See Video lesson 2
Novus actus interveniens (NAI): Has something happened that broke the chain of causation?
The prosecution must then prove that there was no novus actus interveniens (NAI) or ‘new intervening act’ which would break the chain of causation. An intervening act is something that breaks the chain of events so it cannot be said one event caused the other.
For example, if someone is stabbed in the leg and is taken to hospital in an ambulance and the ambulance is blown up by a terrorist killing everyone onboard it cannot be said the stab wound killed the person. The terrorist action constitues a novus actus interveniens or a break in the chain of causation.
Situations that are NOT usually NAI in other words do not break the chain of causation.
Situations that ARE usually NAI in other words situations that do break the chain
Result crimes will sometimes require you to prove causation. There are two main steps in proving causation.
The But for test
Intervening acts and breaks in the chain of causation.