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The doctrine of transferred malice transfers the defendant’s mens rea towards the intended victim to the actual victim. For example, if the defendant attempts to kill or cause grievous bodily harm to person A but accidentally kills person B in the process, 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)
This case shows that a defendant can be convicted of an offence in circumstances where they have intended to injure someone else and accidentally harmed a different victim.

R v Pembleton (1870)
Whilst a defendant’s mens rea can be transferred from one victim to another, it 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 doctrine of transferred malice. In R v Gnango, the was applied in the context of a gunfight in circumstances where the defendant himself was the intended victim of a crime, which he has also aided and abetted.

R v Grant and Others [2011]
This case again highlights how far the doctrine can extend, and the ability to transfer malice to injuries inflicted on multiple victims.

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