Regina -v- Stephen Malcolm R; 1984

References: (1984) 79 Cr App R
Malcom had thrown petrol bombs at the outside wall of the bedroom of a girl who he believed had informed on him in relation to a series of burglaries. He had admitted throwing the bombs but claimed he had done so to frighten the girl and without realising that if a bomb had gone through the window it might have killed her. He was charged on the basis of recklessness. He submitted that when considering recklessness the jury could only convict him if he did an act which created a risk to life obvious to someone of his age and with such of his characteristics as would affect his appreciation of the risk. The trial judge ruled against him and pleaded guilty.
Held: If the House had wished to modify the Caldwell principle to allow for the age of the defendant, the opportunity had existed in Elliott v C. Though concerned at the principle the court had little doubt that on the facts of the case the answer would have been the same even if the jury had been able to draw a comparison with what a boy of the defendant’s age would have appreciated.
Statutes: Criminal Damage Act 1971 1(2)
This case cites:

  • Cited – Elliott -v- C ([1983] 1 WLR 939, [1983] 2 All ER 1005)
    A 14-year old girl of low intelligence entered a shed, poured white spirit on the floor and set it alight. The fire destroyed the shed after she left. The allegation was that she was reckless. The justices applied Caldwell but inferred that in his . .

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