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R v G and another 2003 Criminal Law

R v G and another 2003 | Criminal Law

R v G and another [2003] UKHL 50 overruled the Caldwell test of recklessness and established the current test of recklessness.

Two children, aged 11 and 12, lit newspapers outside a co-op shop and then threw them under a wheelie bin. They then left without putting out the fire assuming it would naturally burn out. However, the fire spread to the co-op shop causing over £1m of damage.

The House of Lords overruled MPC v Caldwell [1982] AC 341 and formulated the appropriate test of recklessness for criminal damage as follows:

"A person acts recklessly within the meaning of s1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 with respect to:

  1. a circumstance when he is aware of a risk that it exists or will exist;
  2. 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."

In this case, the children were deemed too young to be aware of the risk in the circumstances known to them, so their convictions were quashed.

You can learn more about this topic and other case law with our Criminal Law notes.

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