R v Smith – 1959

January 01, 2024
Micheal James

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Introduction to R v Smith – 1959

The case of R v Smith – 1959 is pivotal in the world of criminal law. It’s like a cornerstone, guiding us on how the law determines responsibility for certain actions leading to harmful consequences. This case holds immense importance because it delved into the question of when someone can be held accountable for a crime, particularly when their actions caused harm to another person. Essentially, it helps in understanding the legal principles about responsibility in criminal cases.


R v Smith – 1959 revolves around an incident where something unfortunate happened, and the law had to sort out who was at fault. In this scenario, there was an occurrence involving two soldiers. One of them got hurt due to the actions of the other soldier. The case zoomed in on the specific circumstances that led to this harm, aiming to figure out if the actions of one soldier could be seen as the cause of the harm suffered by the other.

Legal Issues at Stake:

At the core of R v Smith – 1959 lay crucial legal questions about causation and foreseeability in criminal law. Causation deals with understanding the direct link between someone’s actions and the resulting harm caused. Foreseeability, on the other hand, is about whether a reasonable person could have anticipated the potential consequences of their actions. This case dived deep into exploring these concepts to determine if the actions of one soldier were the direct cause of the harm suffered by the other and if that harm was something that could have been foreseen.

Parties Involved:

R v Smith – 1959 primarily involves two key individuals: Smith and the other soldier. Smith’s actions were being questioned to see if they were responsible for the harm caused to the other soldier. The case focused on understanding the relationship between their actions and the resulting injury to determine legal accountability in this situation.

Court Proceedings and Decisions:

The legal journey of R v Smith – 1959 began in a court where both sides presented their arguments about what happened and who was to blame for the injury. The court examined the evidence and listened to arguments from both sides to reach a decision. This decision was a result of careful analysis and interpretation of the law concerning causation and foreseeability, deciding whether Smith was legally responsible for the harm caused to the other soldier.

Judicial Analysis and Rationale:

In R v Smith – 1959, the judges deeply examined the case to understand the connections between Smith’s actions and the resulting harm to the other soldier. They used legal principles to determine if Smith’s actions were the direct cause of the injury and if a reasonable person in Smith’s situation could have foreseen the potential harm. The court’s analysis and interpretation of these legal principles were crucial in deciding Smith’s legal accountability for the injury.

Impact and Precedents Set:

R v Smith – 1959 played a significant role in shaping future cases in criminal law. It established important precedents about the link between actions and consequences and the foreseeability of harm. The judgment became a guiding principle for similar cases, setting a standard for deciding legal responsibility in situations where one person’s actions result in harm to another.

Significance and Ongoing Relevance:

Even today, R v Smith – 1959 remains incredibly relevant in criminal law discussions. It serves as a guidepost for determining legal accountability, especially in cases where actions lead to unintended harm. The case’s enduring significance ensures that legal principles surrounding causation and foreseeability are applied consistently and fairly in similar scenarios.


In summary, R v Smith – 1959 remains a cornerstone in understanding legal responsibility in criminal cases. Its exploration of causation and foreseeability continues to influence how the law determines accountability when actions cause harm. This case serves as a critical guide, ensuring fair and consistent decisions in similar situations where harm results from actions.

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All Answers ltd, 'R v Smith – 1959' (Mylawtutor.net, September 2012 ) <https://www.mylawtutor.net/cases/r-v-smith-1959> accessed 25 April 2024
My, Law, Tutor. (September 2012 ). R v Smith – 1959. Retrieved from https://www.mylawtutor.net/cases/r-v-smith-1959
"R v Smith – 1959." MyLawTutor.net. 9 2012. All Answers Ltd. 04 2024 <https://www.mylawtutor.net/cases/r-v-smith-1959>.
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MyLawTutor. September 2012. R v Smith – 1959. [online]. Available from: https://www.mylawtutor.net/cases/r-v-smith-1959 [Accessed 25 April 2024].
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<ref>{{cite web|last=Tutor |first=MyLaw |url=https://www.mylawtutor.net/cases/r-v-smith-1959 |title=R v Smith – 1959 |publisher=MyLawTutor.net |date=September 2012 |accessdate=25 April 2024 |location=UK, USA}}</ref>

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