Irish criminal law frequently criminalises behaviour without requiring the prosecutor to prove facts directly connected with an event. The word âcalculatedâ? frequently is used to address the issue of purpose or intention. If an act is generally known to have a particular outcome and in an instant case has that outcome it is clear that, at least subject to rebuttal evidence, the accused knew or ought to have known his/her act would have that outcome.
In that sense the accused can be said to have intended that outcome and this accords with the general understanding of the meaning of âcalculatedâ?.
Roget’s New Millenniumâ¢ Thesaurus sets out the following synonyms for âcalculatedâ?
advised, aforethought, calculated, careful, cautious, cold-blooded, conscious, considered, cut-and-dried*, designed, designful, express, fixed, intended, judged, meticulous, planned, pondered, prearranged, predesigned, predeterminate, predetermined, premeditated, prepense, projected, provident, prudent, purposed, purposeful, purposive, reasoned, resolved, schemed, scrupulous, studied, studious, thought out, thoughtful, voluntary, wary, weighed, willful, with forethought, witting
Another way of proving a matter better known to the accused/defendant is to reverse the burden of proof as in an example from Section 12 of the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2005:
(a) the defendant is in a position to benefit others in the exercise of his or her official functions,
(b) another person has benefited from the exercise, and
(c) the defendant does not account satisfactorily for his or her property or for the resources, income or source of income from which it was acquired, it shall be presumed, until the contrary is shown, that the defendant has engaged in corrupt conduct.
The established facts relating to MRSA are as follows:
1. It is endemic in Irish Hospitals;
2. It is contagious in the absence of known precautions and procedures including specific hygiene precautions by staff and management;
3. Patients are particularly vulnerable to it and cannot take steps to protect themselves;
4. It is possible, if the known precautions and procedures are followed, to reduce MRSA infection rates so that it is not endemic;
If, in the light of the above, a patient contracts an MRSA infection, is it not clear, subject to rebuttal evidence, that the hospital has failed to protect the patient?