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Criminal negligence


Although most serious criminal offences require some kind of intention to commit the offence, criminal negligence does exist. Criminal negligence exists in a number of crimes - manslaughter for example, can be committed where the defendant has been grossly negligent. There are a few crimes where negligence is the sole basis for criminal liability. The offence of driving without due care and attention is one such example. This has been defined by case law as a driver’s standard of driving falling below an objective standard of care, which is that of the reasonably prudent and skilful driver.

Criminal negligence is a complex issue as it exists in a variety of forms. As an example of this, criminal negligence can be established by constructive knowledge. Constructive knowledge is where the accused ought to have known something that they did not, and on this basis they can be found guilty because they should have known. The use of constructive knowledge is interesting in the prosecution of people stalking another person. In the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, it states that the defendant will be guilty of an offence if they cause harassment or ought to have known that their actions would cause harassment. The justification for the imposition of liability based on constructive knowledge is that many stalkers suffer from mental disorders which, before constructive knowledge was used, had made it difficult to show that the defendant had the intention to cause harassment.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on criminal negligence, Contact Law can put you in touch with a local specialist criminal defence solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local criminal defence solicitors please call us on 0800 046 1464 or complete the web-form above.

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