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Involuntary Manslaughter
Involuntary manslaughter is where the defendant did not have the intention to kill the victim. It is broken
into three different offences.


Unlawful Act Manslaughter (UAM)

This offence is also known as constructive manslaughter ­ as D must have actively done something to contribute to the
death. This…

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Watson (1989) - Burglary
Ds threw a brick through a window of a house to gain entry. The 87-year old occupier came to see what
the disturbance was. Ds attacked V and left him injured, where he died of a heart attack moments later .

A civil wrong is not…

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However, where a reasonable person would be aware of the victim's frailty and the risk of physical harm to him/her,
then the defendant will be liable.

Watson (1989)
Ds threw a brick through a window of a house to gain entry. The 87-year old occupier came to see what
the…

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Mens Rea


The defendant must have mens rea for the unlawful act but it is not necessary to prove that he foresaw any harm from
him act, as previously stated.

Newbury & Jones (1976)
Ds were 2 teenage boys who pushed a paving stone from a bridge onto a railway…

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Gross Negligence Manslaughter (GNM)

This offence is completely different to UAM as it can be committed by an act or an omission. Neither of these has to
be categorised as unlawful. The leading precedent on GNM is R v. Adomako (1994).

Adomako (1994)
The defendant was an anaesthetist who failed…

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Khan & Khan (1998)
Ds supplied heroin to a new user who collapsed after using it in their presence. They left and when they
returned, she had died.
There could be a duty of care to summon medical help in certain circumstances.
Duty of care can be extended to other…

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Critical Comments

· The test is circular, as the jury is directed to convict of a crime f they think that the conduct was criminal.
· The jury must decide a question of law ­ they decide if conduct is capable of being criminal. This differs from
most offences when…

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Reckless Manslaughter

Before Adomako (1994) it was held that manslaughter could be committed by recklessness based on an objective test.

Adomako stated that this was the wrong test for manslaughter though the word `reckless' might be appropriate.

Recklessness should have the meaning that the defendant had been indifferent to an…

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