A2 LAW MURDER DEFENCES - SUICIDE PACT NOTES

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Suicide Pact
It is the last available defence for murder. Section 4 of the Homicide act 1957 introduces the defence
of suicide pact.
This defence would be used in a situation where A and B agree to end their lives by each
injecting the other with a massive drug overdose at the same time. The plan is carried out, and
A dies, but B is found by C and rushed to hospital, and is saved. B caused the death of A
deliberately and is pima facie guilty of murdering him. B would be able to avail himself of s4,
provided he can show the purpose of the agreement with A was that they should both die, and
that when he injected A with a drug, he himself was under a settled expectation of dying.
Perhaps the most definite case is the one of Trevor Royall. In 1996 the Crown Prosecution Service
decided not to prosecutes Mr Royall, aged 74, who survived a suicide pact with his wife.
Paul C ­ LAW A2Page 1

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