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R v Dawson and others [1985] 81 Cr App R 150

Three defendants attempted to rob a petrol station. They wore masks and were armed with a pickaxe handle and replica guns. The petrol attendant was aged 60 and suffered from heart disease. After the attendant sounded the alarm the defendants fled empty handed. The attendant then suffered a fatal heart attack. The trial judge directed the jury that they must decide whether the actions of the defendant were dangerous by looking at the actions form the point of view of a reasonable man who knew all the facts that they know. The defendants were convicted of manslaughter and appealed.


The convictions were quashed. The jury were aware of the attendant's heart condition whereas a reasonable person present at the time of the attack would not have known this. The direction to the jury was therefore a mis-direction leaving the convictions unsafe.
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