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The doctrine of transferred malice allows the defendant’s mens rea towards the intended victim to be transferred to the actual victim. Therefore, if the defendant intended to kill or cause grievous bodily harm to person A but accidentally kills person B during his attempt to kill person A, the defendant’s mens rea towards person A can be transferred to the killing of person B.

Cases

R v Saunders [1573]
This case is an early illustration of the transferred malice doctrine in practice.

R v Latimer (1886)
It is possible to convict the defendant of an offence in circumstances where he has intended to injure someone else and accidentally harmed a different victim by using the doctrine of transferred malice.

R v Pembleton (1870)
Whilst a defendant’s mens rea can be transferred from one victim to another, the doctrine of transferred malice cannot apply to different crimes.

A-G’s Reference (No.3 of 1994)
This case demonstrates the potential limits of the transferred malice doctrine. It also shows the dislike expressed by the court of a double transfer of intent

R v Gnango [2011]
This case illustrates the extent of the transferred malice doctrine. The case also …

R v Grant and Others [2011]
This case illustrates the extent of the transferred malice doctrine and the ability to transfer malice to injuries inflicted on multiple victims.

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