Gross Negligence Manslaughter OCR Law G153

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  • Created on: 06-06-14 17:36
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Gross Negligence Manslaughter
Very different to UDAM in that the D hasn't initially committed a crime
Can be an act or an omission
Common law ­ maximum life sentence
Linked to negligence in civil law, even though civil and criminal law are
very different
Adomako is the leading GNM case
D was an anaesthetist who failed to notice Vs oxygen tube was dislodged. V
had a heart attack and died 6 months later. HL upheld Ds conviction for GNM
and set out the elements of GNM:
1) D owed a duty of care
2) D breached this duty
3) There was a risk of death and death was caused
4) The breach was so gross (bad) it was criminal
Liability arises where the jury decides that:
`Having regard to the risk of death involved, the conduct of the D was so bad in
all the circumstances as to amount to a criminal act or omission'
1) D owed a duty of care
E.g. contractual duty, special relationship etc.
2) D breached this duty
`Has the accused in acting or omitting failed to reach the standard of a
reasonably competent equivalent?' e.g. a doctor will be judged against a RCE
Bateman 1925
D was a doctor and he didn't sent a women to hospital when her womb came
away after giving birth. Not guilty of GNM as a RC doctor wouldn't have sent
her either
3) Risk of death and death was caused

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The breach was so gross it's criminal
The negligence has to be gross (very bad).…read more

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COA said that Adomako is clear. The test in GNM involves consideration of the
risk of death. It's not sufficient to show a risk of bodily injury/injury to health ­
must be death.…read more

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Reform of GNM
1996 Law Commission Report
2 categories were proposed:
1. Reckless Killing
Ds aware that his conduct will cause death/GBH and it's unreasonable to take
that risk having regard to the circumstances as he believes them to be
2.…read more

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Criticisms of GNM
Juries are often more reluctant to convict professionals
Jury are deciding a legal point ­ what is gross? Little guidance is given
as to what gross means.…read more


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