Caldwell Recklessness abandoned by the House of Lords.

Saturday 18 October 2003 at 6:50 pm | In News | Post Comment

R v G and another (2003)HL (R v Gemmell and Richards) DD aged 11 and 12 went camping without their parents approval. They went to the back of the Co-op in Newport Pagnell, lit some newspapers which set fire to a wheelie-bin which set fire to the shop, cause £1m of damage. They were convicted of arson by a jury. Both the judge and jury appear to have been not content with applying the objective approach that the law required in R v Caldwell (1982) HL. Held: Unanimously, Caldwell was wrongly decided, the test of recklessness was found in the preparatory work of the Law Commission prior to the Criminal Damage Act 1971. The test now is: “A person acts recklessly within the meaning of section 1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 with respect to – (i) a circumstance when he is aware of a risk that it exists or will exist; (ii) a result when he is aware of a risk that it will occur; and it is, in the circumstances known to him, unreasonable to take the risk.” (Based on clause 18(c) of the Criminal Code Bill annexed by the Law Commission to its Report “A Criminal Code for England and Wales Volume 1: Report and Draft Criminal Code Bill” (Law Com No 177, April 1989)) Not guilty of arson (criminal damage by fire) Whole case, here.

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