Regina v Cunningham: HL 8 Jul 1981

A defendant may be convicted of murder if it is established either (1) that he had an intent to kill or (2) that he had an intent to cause really serious bodily injury.
Intention is a state of mind which can never be proved as a fact. It can only be inferred from other facts which are proved.
Lord Edmund-Davies said: ‘the outcome of intentionally inflicting serious harm can be so unpredictable that anyone prepared to act so wickedly has little ground for complaint if, where death results, he is convicted and punished as severely as one who intended to kill.’

Lord Edmund-Davies
[1982] AC 566, [1981] UKHL 5, [1981] 2 All ER 863, (1981) 145 JP 411, [1981] 3 WLR 223, (1981) 73 Cr App R 253
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRegina v Woollin HL 2-Apr-1998
The defendant appealed against his conviction for the murder of his child. He had thrown the child to the floor, hitting the head. He said that he had not intended to kill the child.
Held: On a murder charge, where the short direction on . .
CitedAttorney-General’s Reference (No 3 of 1994) HL 24-Jul-1997
The defendant stabbed a pregnant woman. The child was born prematurely and died. The attack had been directed at the mother, and the proper offence was manslaughter.
Held: The only questions which need to be addressed are (1) whether the act . .
CitedRahman and Others, Regina v HL 2-Jul-2008
The defendants appealed against their convictions for murder. None had themselves inflicted any violence, but were convicted as part of a joint enterprise. They said they had not known that the principal carried a knife. They said that the evidence . .
CitedBM, Regina v CACD 22-Mar-2018
The defendant appealed from a preliminary ruling that his body modification services were not in law capable of being consented to and therefore amounted to an assault.
Held: The appeal failed: ‘we can see no good reason why body modification . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.186622