• In the case of Elliot v C A Minor 1983 2 All ER 1005, the objective test of recklessness was laid down.

Facts of the Case

  • A 14-year-old schoolgirl (D) was charged with criminal damage after spending a night awake and wandering around when she entered a tool shed and poured white spirit on a carpet to set light to it.
  • This destroyed the shed.
  • The justices found that D did not appreciate how flammable the spirit was and having regard to her extreme tiredness could not have thought of the obvious risk of fire.
  • They then acquitted D.

Issues in Elliot v C A Minor 1983 2 All ER 1005

  • Could D be held liable as to the recklessness of her actions.

Held by Court of Appeal

  • Conviction upheld.

Glidwell LJ 

  • Held that the appropriate test was whether a reasonable man would realise the dangers of the fire in the circumstances, even if the accused might not have.
  • “The risk is one which must have been obvious to a reasonably prudent man, not necessarily to the particular defendant if he or she had given thought to it. It follows, says Mr. Moses, that if the risk is one which would have been obvious to a reasonably prudent person, once it has also been proved that the particular defendant gave no thought to H the possibility of there being such a risk, it is not a defence that because of limited intelligence or exhaustion she would not have appreciated the risk even if she had thought about it.” [G-H]