Revision notes for Criminal Law: Involuntary Manslaughter, for AS Law.

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  • Created on: 21-01-08 14:05

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Unlike voluntary manslaughter involuntary manslaughter may be charged
An acquittal for murder may be substituted for an IM conviction so it is not true to say that
IM is always charged
(30)R v Woollin (1999) ­ Direction of substantial risk rather than virtual certainty
P is able to prove the AR of murder but cannot prove the MR hence the MR of IM cannot be
malice aforethought
There is no set definition it is just known to be less than malice aforethought
There are 3 forms of involuntary manslaughter:
Reckless Manslaughter
Gross Negligence Manslaughter
Unlawful Act Manslaughter
The three forms of IM have the same mens rea (i.e. that of murder) but have varying levels
of MR
For RM the mens rea is:
D foresaw that death or serious harm was a highly probable consequence of his
conduct (Lidar 1999)
Note that it is assessed subjectively
Note that highly probable is a lower level of foresight than the virtual certainty level for
oblique intent murder
(73)R v Lidar (1999) ­Drove off with V hanging from door of car
(30)R v Woollin (1999) ­ Direction of substantial risk rather than virtual certainty
The MR for GNM is that D was grossly negligent
This is assessed objectively against a reasonable man with the same skills/expertise
Negligence is a civil term from the civil law of tort
For GNM (criminal law) the negligence must be gross due to the consequences of
conviction i.e. harsher consequences require more proof of fault
Conviction goes beyond requiring mere compensation (Bateman 1925)
When assessing whether negligence was gross courts should consider: seriousness of the
breach & how far D's conduct was from the proper standard (Adomaku 1995)
(74)R v Adomaku(1995) Failed to notice disconnected oxygen tube
For D to be convicted P must prove:
D owed a duty of care
D was in breach of that duty of care
D's breach involved a risk of death
D's breach caused death

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D's breach was criminal/grossly negligent
D Owed a Duty of Care:
This is the same as the general principles of civil negligence with the court considering the
relationship between D and V
Where the relationship is already recognised as giving rise to a duty of care (an
established relationship) the judge will direct the jury such
Where the relationship is a new relationship then it is for the jury to decide as to whether or
not D owed V a duty of care by asking:…read more

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This is also known as constructive manslaughter as the liability for manslaughter is
constructed from liability for a lesser offence
The AR is the AR of the lesser offence plus causing death
The MR is committing the AR deliberately and the MR of lesser offence
(79)R v Newbury (1977) ­ D committed AR of criminal damage causing death
Hence P must prove:
D deliberately did an act
D's act was criminally unlawful
D's act was dangerous
D's act caused death
D…read more

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D's Unlawful Act Must Cause Death:
See Actus Reus: Causation (causation in fact, causation in law, breaking the chain etc.…read more


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