Regina 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 intent was insufficient, the judge should direct on basis that death or serious bodily harm would have to almost certainly arise from the act complained of, and that the defendant appreciated this. A person may still intend to do something even though he does not desire it. Intention is not to be restricted to consequences that are wanted or desired, but includes consequences which a defendant might not want to ensue, but which the jury find (a) are the virtually certain result of the defendant’s actions (barring some unforeseen intervention); and (b) are consequences which the defendant appreciated were virtually certain to occur.

Lord Browne-Wilkinson, Lord Nolan, Lord Steyn, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead
Times 23-Jul-1998, Gazette 09-Sep-1998, [1998] UKHL 28, [1999] AC 82, [1998] 3 WLR 382, [1998] 4 All ER 103, [1998] Crim LR 890, [1999] 1 Cr App Rep 8
House of Lords, Bailii
Criminal Justice Act 1967 8
England and Wales
Appeal fromRegina v Woollin CACD 12-Aug-1996
The defendant threw his child in anger onto a hard surface. He argued that he did not intend the consequences, the death of the child.
Held: A direction from the judge as to the making of an inference of intent from the consequences of an act, . .
ConfirmedRegina v Nedrick CACD 10-Jul-1986
The appellant poured paraffin through the front door of a house and set it alight. In the fire a child died.
Held: Lord Lane CJ considered whether a simple direction to the jury on intent to either kill or to do serious bodily harm was . .
CitedRegina 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 . .
CitedRegina v Powell (Anthony) and Another; Regina v English HL 30-Oct-1997
When the court looked at the issue of foreseeability of murder in an allegation of joint enterprise, there was no requirement to show intent by the secondary party. The forseeability of the risk of the principal committing the offence from the point . .
CitedDirector of Public Prosecutions v Smith HL 1960
The defendant tried to avoid arrest and killed a policeman by driving off with the policeman clinging to the car.
Held: (1) The defendant committed murder because death or grievous bodily harm was foreseen by him as a ‘likely’ result of his . .
CitedRegina v Hyam HL 1974
The defendant had burnt down the house of her rival in love, thereby killing her children. The judge directed the jury to convict the defendant of murder if she knew that it was highly probable that her act would cause death or serious bodily harm. . .
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 . .
CitedRegina 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 . .
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 . .

Cited by:
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. . .
CitedIn Re A (Minors) (Conjoined Twins: Medical Treatment); aka In re A (Children) (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation) CA 22-Sep-2000
Twins were conjoined (Siamese). Medically, both could not survive, and one was dependent upon the vital organs of the other. Doctors applied for permission to separate the twins which would be followed by the inevitable death of one of them. The . .
CitedEquality and Human Rights Commission v Prime Minister and Others Admn 3-Oct-2011
The defendant had published a set of guidelines for intelligence officers called upon to detain and interrogate suspects. The defendant said that the guidelines could only be tested against individual real life cases, and that the court should not . .
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.


Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.135187