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R v Matthews and Alleyne [2003]

Facts

  • The defendants threw the victim into a river where he drowned, not intending the death of the victim, as the victim should have been able to swim

Issue

  • Did the defendants murder the victim?

Decision

  • Yes

Reasoning

  • Although the conviction was safe, the judge erred in finding that R v Woollin [1999] laid down a rule of law
  • The Woollin criteria is a rule of evidence: a jury direction which entitles a jury to find intent if the resulting death was virtually certain; it does not require a jury to find intent from virtual certainty
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