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DPP v Smith [1961]


  • In an attempt to prevent Smith driving away with stolen goods, a policeman jumped onto Smith’s car
  • Smith proceeded to drive erratically, shaking the policeman off and causing death


  • Did Smith murder the policeman?


  • No


  • The judge directed the jury to find that Smith had the necessary intent to cause GBH murder if they were satisfied that the reasonable man could have foreseen the harm as a consequence
  • The House of Lords affirmed that the virtual certainty test was an objective test
  • This case has since been overruled by R v Nedrick [1986] and R v Woolin [1999]: the virtual certainty test now contains both subjective and objective elements
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