ⓘ Culpable and reckless conduct


ⓘ Culpable and reckless conduct

While there is no statutory definition, a summary of what constitutes the offence can be inferred from a draft Scottish Legal Code which drew upon current law and proposed the following for a statutory offence of Recklessness:-

Recklessness For the purposes of criminal liability ⎯ a something is caused recklessly if the person causing the result is, or ought to be, aware of an obvious and serious risk that acting will bring about the result but nonetheless acts where no reasonable person would do so; b a person is reckless as to a circumstance, or as to a possible result of an act, if the person is, or ought to be, aware of an obvious and serious risk that the circumstance exists, or that the result will follow, but nonetheless acts where no reasonable person would do so; c a person acts recklessly if the person is, or ought to be, aware of an obvious and serious risk of dangers or of possible harmful results in so acting but nonetheless acts where no reasonable person would do so.

1. Offences

The case Her Majestys Advocate v. Harris states how the offence of Culpable and Reckless Conduct will occur;

"There are two ways in which reckless conduct may become criminal. Reckless conduct to the danger of the lieges will constitute a crime in Scotland and so too will reckless conduct which has caused actual injury"


1.1. Offences Reckless injury

Judicial precedence has developed an offence of unintentionally but recklessly causing injury to another. This has been proposed in case law as an alternative to assault as there no need to prove "evil intent" as would be the case for assault. There is no requirement for the accused to actively or deliberately make efforts to cause injury, provided that it is foreseeable injury could be caused by non-action or an omission and that a causal link exists with the injury. The case of Kimmins v. Nomand, displays this point, the accused was detained for a legitimately search by police and denied having needles on their person. A police officer subsequently suffered a needle stick injury when searching the accused, who was laterally charged with "recklessly causing injury".


1.2. Offences Reckless endangerment of the lieges

In the case of Robson v Spiers, establishes the forseeablity of potential danger or injury to the public by the accuseds course of action. Again there need not be any physical injury to a person, only the need to demonstrate possible endangerment to the public.

A high degree of recklessness is required, more than what could be construed as carelessness or negligence. The accused must have acted in a manner that demonstrated an utter disregard for the consequences of his conduct on the general public and a total indifference to their safety.

  • malicious or reckless behaviour. In Scots law, if a fire is the result of an act of recklessness then the offence of culpable and reckless conduct applies
  • his conduct Culpability therefore marks the dividing line between moral evil, like murder, for which someone may be held legally responsible and a randomly
  • used for the crime of Culpable negligence. The offense is intended to prohibit and therefore deter reckless or wanton conduct that wrongfully creates
  • consciously disregarding any risks flowing from such action. Recklessness is less culpable than intentional wickedness, but is more blameworthy than careless
  • or not culpable homicide. There are three types of culpable homicide: murder, manslaughter and infanticide. Killings classified as not culpable are justifiable
  • standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation. b A person convicted of reckless driving is guilty of a misdemeanor and is punishable
  • fire - raising and culpable and reckless conduct can incur a sentence of life imprisonment. Arson in royal dockyards Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
  • different modes of culpability The following levels of mens rea are found in the MPC: Strict liability: the actor engaged in conduct and his mental state
  • definitively distinguishing the most culpable and dangerous of murderers. In the Court s estimation, reckless indifference to the value of human life
  • being considered to be the same offence Hamesucken Culpable and reckless injury Culpable and reckless endangering of the public Uttering threats, see MacKellar
  • standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe. If an offense requires a specific kind of culpability then any more severe culpability will suffice
  • S. Bankruptcy Code requires proof of a culpable state of mind involving knowledge of, or gross recklessness in respect to, the improper nature of the