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Unlawful Act Manslaughter
1.Liability for death comes from the facts that D
has done a dangerous act, which caused the death.
Even though D did not realise that the death or
injury may occur.
2. Elements of unlawful act manslaughter:
a)D must do an unlawful act
b)Act must be dangerous on an objective test
c)Act must cause the death
d)D must have the required mens rea for the unlawful
act…read more

Slide 2

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a)Unlawful act
3. Death must be caused by an unlawful
act which must be a criminal offence. A
civil tort is not enough FRANKLIN
1883/LAMB 1967
4. Omission is not enough, there must be
an act LOWE 1973/ KHAN 1998…read more

Slide 3

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b) Dangerous Act
· 5. Unlawful act must be dangerous on an objective test in
CHURCH 1966 it was held that it must be
· `'Such as all sober & reasonable people would mentally
recognise must subject the other person to at least the risk of
some harm resulting therefrom, albeit, not serious harm''.
· 6. The risk need only be of `'some harm'' the harm does not need
to be serious. If a sober and reasonable person realise that the
unlawful act might cause some injury then this part of the U.A.M
is complete it does not matter if the person did not realise there
was a risk of harm to another person (LARKIN 1943)…read more

Slide 4

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7. Humphries J said `'where the act which a
person is engaged in is unlawful then it is
also dangerous. An act which is likely to
injure someone makes the D guilty of
The act need not be aimed at the victim
· 8. All elements by Humphries in Larkin 1943
are present. D is guilty of U.A.M despite the
fact that each case the person threatened
or punched was not the one who died.…read more

Slide 5

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9. The act can also be aimed at a property
providing that all sober and reasonable people
would inevitably recognise must subject another
person to at least the risk of harm (GOODFELLOW
· 10. The risk of harm includes causing a person to
suffer shock. However mere emotional
disturbance is not enough (DAWSON 1985)
· 11. There was problems with Dawson because
would a reasonable sober person foresee the risk
of harm to the petrol attendant. However where a
reasonable person would be aware of V's frailty
and the risk of physical harm then D would be
liable (WATSON 1989)…read more

Slide 6

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c) Causing the death
· 12. Unlawful act must cause the death, if there is
a intervening act which breaks the chain of
causation then D cannot be liable (CATO 1978)
· 13. The problem has been with situations where
D prepared the injection handed it to V who self
injected and whether D did a U.A act or whether
D has caused the V's death or was the self
injecting an intervening act (DALBY 1982)…read more

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