A sent arsenic mixed food to B with the intention of causing the death of B. B shared the food with C and D and the food was taken by B, C and D but none of them died. A was prosecuted under Section 307, I.P.C. for…

By | July 21, 2021
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Question: A sent arsenic mixed food to B with the intention of causing the death of B. B shared the food with C and D and the food was taken by B, C and D but none of them died. A was prosecuted under Section 307, I.P.C. for ‘attempt to commit murder’ of B, C and D. It was argued on behalf of A that he is not liable at least for ‘attempt to murder’ C and D, as he had intended only to kill B and for this purpose, he sent arsenic mixed food to B only and it is B who distributed the food to C and D. Thus, no criminal liability is made out against him in respect of C and D. Decide, by giving reference to case law, if any, on the point. [WBJS.1973]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites [A sent arsenic mixed food to B with the intention of causing the death of B. B shared the food with C and D and the food was taken by B, C and D but none of them died. A was prosecuted under Section 307, I.P.C. for…]

Answer

Section 307. Attempt to murder.

Whoever does any act with such intention or knowledge, and under such circumstances that, if he by that act caused death, he would be guilty of murder, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine;

and if hurt is caused to any person by such act, the offender shall be liable either to imprisonment for life or to such punishment as is hereinbefore mentioned.

Thus, the intention or knowledge to cause death is the essence of the offence of an attempt to murder. Transferred intent (or transferred mens rea, or transferred malice, in English law) is a legal doctrine that holds that, when the intention to harm one individual inadvertently causes a second person to be hurt instead, the perpetrator is still held responsible.

To be held legally responsible, a court typically must demonstrate that the perpetrator had criminal intent, that is, that they knew or should have known that another would be harmed by their actions and wanted this harm to occur.

R v. Latimer [(1886) 17 QBD 359] shows that a defendant can be convicted of an offence where they intend to injure person A but accidentally harm the victim. This is done through the doctrine of transferred malice. Latimer became involved in a fight with person A at a pub.

Latimer swung his belt at person A, but actually hit and injured the victim. The defendant was found guilty of the offence of assault. The Court transferred the defendant’s mens rea towards person A to the actual victim. This is because, despite the defendant not having the intention of harming the actual victim, B, it was possible to transfer his intention to harm person A to the actus reus of harming B.

Here the section mention that if hurt is caused to “any person” by such act of the offender, so even if A intended to cause the death of B only, if by his act live of any other person i.e. C and D in this case, are also under that risk then A will be liable for an attempt to murder against all of the three.

Therefore, A is liable against B, C, D for committing an attempt to murder in the case.


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