Russell On Crime, (In 2 Vols.)


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In any attempt to control the tendency of a textbook such as Russell on Crime to grow edition by edition to an inordinate length through the accretion of new cases and the creation of fresh offences by the legislature, there is a danger of eliminating old material which is still needed for the proper comprehension of what is new, especially where the merits of the new have been challenged. In very few, if any, decades can there have been so many judgments in criminal cases to attract criticism as have occurred since 1954; prominent among these are Bedder v.D.P.P., R. v. Vickers,Welham v. D.P.P., Sykes v. D.P.P., Shawv. D.P.P. and Fisher v. Raven, all of which it has been necessary to mention in this edition. The doubts expressed in the last edition as to the interpretation of the Homicide Act, 1957, have unfortunately been realized; in particular there has been a line of cases from R. v. Bastian to R. v. Price showing the diversity of views which may be held concerning the effects of a plea of diminished responsibility under section 2 of that Act, or a plea of insanity within the M`Naghten Rules. The ever increasing number of persons brought before the courts on charges of the unlawful use of motor vehicles has begun to create administrative difficulties, but in this field there are also legal problems, for whereas the offences of which motorists are accused are almost entirely statutory and dealt with by courts of summary jurisdiction, and as such would not fall within the established scope of this book, yet many can alternatively be tried on indictment, and, unhappily, many of these involve injuries to the person. To this extent, therefore, some account of this branch of the law must be included. But since on the one hand it is difficult, if not impossible, to deduce general principles of criminal liability from the varied interpretations given by the courts to different statutory provisions governing road traffic, while on the other hand discussion in detail would distort the scheme of the book and unduly add to its size, the topic has only been treated in outline. It has, however, been possible to relegate a number of old cases to footnote references and to cut down the citations of others, so that the size of the present edition is somewhat reduced.

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