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R v Miller [1983]


  • Miller, a squatter, smoked in a bed in the premises he was occupying, then fell asleep
  • Upon waking, he noticed his cigarette smoking on the floor of the room
  • After abandoning the smouldering cigarette, the building he was in caught fire due to the cigarette


  • Did Miller cause the damage to the building?


  • Yes


  • Lord Diplock stated that damage can be caused by failing to take reasonable steps to mitigate a danger created by one’s self
  • Miller was criminally liable both in terms omitting to remedy the danger and as part of a wider continuing act
  • Recklessness was not pursued by the prosecution in this case, but may have provided a third route to conviction
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