Changes to Voluntary Manslaughter

Any errors/changes be they legal or typographical - let me know and I will rectify them ASAP.

An update regarding loss of control/provocation under s.52 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.  The release is designed for practitioners and as such is pretty heavy-going for A-level: important none the less.

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Defences to Murder ­ Changes effective from 4th October 2010

When Does the Law Change?

On 4th October 2010 the defence of provocation will be abolished (for acts committed on/after that

It will be replaced by a new, partial defence known as "Loss of Control".

On the same day…

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Lastly the abnormality must provide an explanation for D's impairment.

Many cases in which the defence would have succeeded under the old law would give rise to the
same result today. But note ­ the new law now requires the defence ­ or any person raising the
defence ­ to…

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This has happened in the past with conditions such as ME and Repetitive Strain Injury.

Ultimately it is a question of fact for the jury to decide. R v Jennion 46 Cr App R 212 CCA.

Given the role of expert evidence, both case management and summing up with be…

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(b) To form a rational judgement;
(c) To exercise self-control.

The act(s) or omission(s) which forms the abnormal mental functioning must, under S1A1(c) provide
an explanation for the killing or for D's secondary role in it.

This is causation.

Again the burden of proof is upon the defendant.

The Act…

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This is housed in subsection (3). This subsection applies if D's loss of self-control was attributable to
D's fear of serious violence from V against D or another identified person.

This will be a question of fact.

Evidence of V's bad character will plainly hold great value here.

The Second…

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The Test for Loss of Control

The new test is both subjective and objective ­ ss(1)(c ) ­ the jury must look at D and identify
whether he did in fact lose control and thereafter, whether that loss emanated from a qualifying
trigger (a subjective test).

If the answer to…

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A person who, but for this section, would be liable to be convicted of murder is liable to instead be
convicted of manslaughter.

The fact that one party to a killing is by virtue of this section not liable to be convicted of murder
does not affect the question whether…


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