What is the difference between rashness and criminal negligence?
The offence of rash navigation of a vessel is committed by navigating it in a manner so rash or negligent as to endanger human life, or to be likely to cause hurt or injury to any other person and is punishable in the same manner as aforesaid.
As regards the difference between criminal rashness and criminal negligence, a rash act is primarily an overhasty act and is thus opposed to a deliberate act, but it also includes an act which, though it may be said to be deliberate, is yet done without due deliberation and caution.
In the case of rashness the actor adverts to the consequences but assumes on insufficient grounds that they will not follow; in the case of negligence there is a culpable carelessness.
Negligence has been defined as breach of a duty caused by the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided by those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do.
Austin thus differentiates the two in his inimitable style. In cases of negligence, the party performs not an act to which he is obliged. He breaks a positive duty. In cases of rashness the party does an act from which he is bound to forbear. He breaks a negative duty.
In cases of negligence he adverts not to the act, which it is his duty to do. In cases of rashness, he adverts to those consequences of the act; but, by reason of some assumption which he examines insufficiently, he concludes that those consequences will not follow the act in the instance before him.
Culpable rashness is acting with consciousness that the mischievous and illegal consequences may follow, but with the hope that they will not, and often with the belief that the actor has taken sufficient precautions to prevent their happening.
The immutability arises from acting despite the consciousness. Culpable negligence is acting without the consciousness that the illegal and mischievous effect will follow but in circumstances which show that the actor has not exercised the caution incumbent upon him, and that if he had he would have had the consciousness. The immutability arises from the neglect of the civic duty of circumspection.