R v Blaue
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|R v Blaue|
|Court||Court of Appeal|
|Decided||9 July 1975|
|Citation(s)|| 1 WLR 1411;  3 All ER 446; (1975) 61 Cr App R 271;  Crim LR 648; (1975) 119 SJ 589|
|Novus actus interveniens; causation; blood transfusion|
R v Blaue (1975) 61 Cr App R 271 is an English criminal law case in which the Court of Appeal decided that the refusal of a Jehovah's Witness to accept a blood transfusion after being stabbed did not constitute a novus actus interveniens for the purposes of legal causation.
The defendant entered the home of an 18-year-old woman and asked for sex. When she declined his advances, he stabbed her four times; the wound penetrated her lung which necessitated both a blood transfusion and surgery in order to save her life. After refusing treatment because of her religious beliefs (as a Jehovah's Witness) she died. Medical evidence showed that she would not have died if she had received treatment. In his final speech to the jury, counsel for the Crown accepted that the girl’s refusal to have a blood transfusion was a cause of her death. The prosecution did not challenge the defence evidence that the defendant was suffering from diminished responsibility. The defence argued that the victim’s refusal to accept medical treatment broke the chain of causation between the stabbing and her death.
Lawton LJ ruled that, as a matter of public policy, "those who use violence on others must take their victims as they find them.", invoking the thin-skull rule. The defendant's conviction of manslaughter was upheld.
The thin-skull rule.
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