Regina v. Faulkner (1877)

Procedural History

– Court of Crown cases reserved Ireland


–          Prisoner stole from ship, while stealing rum, he burned the ship down.

–          Convicted of feloniously, unlawfully, and maliciously burned the ship down.

–          Crown upheld the conviction, of intently setting the ship on fire.

  • Defense asked for an acquittal that on the facts proved the indictment was not sustained, nor the allegation that he intently lit the ship on fire was proved to.

–          Crown concluded that the defendant was in a felonious act, and the intent to burn was immaterial.

–          The jury was not informed of how the defendant lacked intent to burn the ship down…significant material left out.

–          The judge actually said that the defendant had no intention of burning the vessel, still if they found him stealing the rum, the manner in which the fire took place; they ought to find him guilty of larceny.

–          The prosecution insisted that the defendant being engaged of a felonious act, or attempt, was criminally responsible for EVERY result that was occasioned thereby, event though it was not a probable consequence of his act or such he could have reasonably foreseen or intended.


–          Were the juries instructions correct, in holding out the element of “intent” of the prisoner?

–          If a person commits a felony, and in the process of that felony unintentionally commits what would otherwise be considered a felony, is that person guilty of the second felony?




–          Separate felonies for the different charges

  • The felon should be charged for the very act he committed, not for another act that he committed. They are separate cases here.
  • Or that it was deemed a necessary consequence of the act that he committed, probable result foreseen by the defendant
  • And the fact that the “intent” element was not presented at bar.


–          The differing views of intent were not viewed to the jury.

–          They didn’t decide whether it was a necessary result of the theft, or whether it was probable

–          The jury was just asked to contemplate whether being convicted of one felony, created the action of another felony, even though they are completely different crimes with completely different intentions behind them.


Court for Crown cases reserved “squashed” the lower courts holding. Overturned.

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