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7.1.2.1 - Charges: Causation

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Causation

[For many offences it will be unnecessary to give any direction in respect of causation (see Causation). Where some direction is required, in most cases a very basic direction will be sufficient. Such directions are incorporated into the charges for offences which commonly require them.

In some cases it may be necessary to direct the jury further, due to the nature of the case. Additional charges to address the following circumstances are included below:

Additional Charges

Multiple Possible Causes or Combined Causes

In this case you have heard evidence that [insert relevant result] [was/may have been] caused by [multiple possible/a combination of] causes. [Insert relevant evidence.]

The law says that for NOA’s act[s] to have caused [insert relevant result], it does not need to have been the only cause of that result. You may find that his/her act[s] caused [identify relevant result] if [it was/they were] a substantial or significant cause of that result.

You should approach this question in a common sense manner, bearing in mind that your answer affects whether or not the accused is held criminally responsible for his/her actions.

Intervening Acts/Failure to Intervene

In this case you have heard evidence that [identify relevant result] did not follow immediately from the alleged act[s] of the accused, and that [describe intervening acts] may have occurred in between.

The law says that for NOA’s act[s] to have caused [insert relevant result], [it does/they do] not need to have been the only cause of that result, or the direct or immediate cause. You may find that his/her act[s] caused [identify relevant result] if [it was/they were] a substantial or significant cause of that result.

In making this determination, you need to decide whether it was the accused’s act[s] which caused [insert relevant result], or whether [that act/those acts] merely provided the setting for the later act[s] of [insert intervening act] which in truth caused the result. If his/her acts only provided the setting, then s/he did not cause the result, and you must find him/her not guilty of [insert offence].

You should approach this question in a common sense manner, bearing in mind that your answer affects whether or not the accused is held criminally responsible for his/her actions.

Indirect Cause

[This direction has been drafted for use in cases in which the victim could be seen to have caused the ultimate result while attempting to escape the violence of the accused. While it could be adapted for use in other cases where the accused could be seen to have indirectly caused the relevant result, care should be taken in doing so.

This charge should not be given where a simpler "intervention" direction can be given (see above). It should also not be given where NOA purposively compelled NOV to commit the causal conduct.]

In this case you have heard evidence suggesting that [identify result] was only indirectly caused by the acts of the accused. [Insert relevant evidence].

The law says that for an accused’s act[s] to have caused [insert relevant result], [it does/they do] not need to have been the direct or immediate cause of that result. You may find that his/her act[s] caused [identify relevant result] if [it was/they were] a substantial or significant cause of that result.

However, you can only find the accused responsible for the indirect results of his/her acts if the prosecution can prove two matters to you, beyond reasonable doubt.

First, the prosecution must prove that NOA’s acts caused [identify the ultimate result; eg. NOV’s death]. In this case, that means that NOA’s acts were a substantial or significant cause of [identify immediate causal event; eg. NOV fleeing NOA’s violence], which in turn caused [identify the ultimate result; eg. NOV’s death].

You should approach this question in a common sense manner, bearing in mind that your answer affects whether or not the accused is held criminally responsible for his/her actions.

Secondly,[1] the prosecution must prove that NOV acted out of a well-founded or reasonable fear of NOA, and that NOV’s acts of self-preservation were a natural consequence of NOA’s conduct.

Here, the evidence was [describe evidence relevant to reasonableness of NOV’s response]. It is for you to determine if NOV’s reaction was reasonable and well-founded. If you find that NOV over-reacted to NOA’s conduct, then you must find that the accused was not responsible for [identify result], and find him/her not guilty of [insert offence].

 

Notes

[1] This part of the direction will have to be substantially modified if applied to offences not addressing escape-based harm.

Last updated: 20 June 2007

See Also

7.1.2 - Causation