Regina v Hancock and Shankland: HL 27 Feb 1985

Two miners on strike had pushed a concrete block from a bridge onto a three-lane highway on which a miner was being taken to work by taxi. The concrete block hit the taxi and killed the driver. The defendants were charged with murder. They said they merely intended to block the road and to frighten the non-striking miner. Following Moloney the judge directed the jury to ask: ‘Was death or serious injury a natural consequence of what was done? Did a defendant foresee that consequence as a natural consequence?’ The jury convicted. The Court of Appeal held that the Moloney guidelines, and the judge’s direction in terms of those guidelines, were defective and potentially misleading.
Held: The Moloney guidelines were misleading since they omitted any reference to probability. ‘They also require an explanation that the greater the probability of a consequence the more likely it is that the consequence was foreseen and that if that consequence was foreseen the greater the probability is that that consequence was also intended. But juries also require to be reminded that the decision is theirs to be reached upon a consideration of all the evidence.’


Lord Scarman, Lord Keith, Lord Roskill, Lord Brightman, Lord Griffiths


[1986] AC 455, [1985] UKHL 9, [1986] 2 WLR 357, 1985 SLT 214, [1986] 1 All ER 641, [1986] 1 All ER 641




England and Wales


CitedRegina v Moloney HL 21-Mar-1984
The defendant appealed against his conviction for murder.
Held: The appeal was allowed and a conviction for manslaughter substituted.
Lord Bridge of Harwich discussed the case of Hyam: ‘But looking on their facts at the decided cases . .

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 . .
CitedAtkinson v Regina CACD 7-Nov-2003
The appellant had been convicted of false accounting in the making of false claims for payment for prescriptions, submitting forms which said that the patient was over 60 when she knew they were not. She said she filled the forms in mechanically. . .
CitedGnango, Regina v SC 14-Dec-2011
The prosecutor appealed against a successful appeal by the defendant against his conviction for murder. He and an opponent had engaged in a street battle using guns. His opponent had shot an innocent passer by. The court was now asked as to whether . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 11 July 2022; Ref: scu.186624