R v Cunningham  3 WLR 76, 2 QB 396, 41 Crim App 155 is an English criminal law case that established the Cunningham test of recklessness.
Cunningham removed a gas meter to steal the money inside. His act caused a gas leak that resulted in a neighbour being poisoned. He was charged with violating s23 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 that criminalised the unlawful and malicious administration of a noxious substance to another person.
The trial judge explained the word "maliciously" to mean general wickedness. Because of that, the mens rea for the crime was deemed present, and he was convicted.
The appellant court quashed the conviction on the grounds that the trial judged incorrectly defined “malicious” as “wicked”. The correct test for malice was whether the defendant had either actual intent to cause harm or was reckless as to the possibility of causing foreseeable harm.