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4) Involuntary Manslaughter (the 2011 Criminal Law Special Study)
What is Involuntary Manslaughter?
An unlawful killing where the D does not have either direct or oblique intention to kill or cause GBH.
There are three ways of committing involuntary manslaughter:
1. Unlawful Act/Constructive Manslaughter
2. Gross Negligence Manslaughter
3. Reckless Manslaughter
Unlawful Act Manslaughter
The D must do an unlawful act
o A tort is not sufficient:
Franklin (1883) D threw a box off a pier, hitting and killing a swimmer. NG as a tort was not enough to create criminal liability.
o There must be an act (an omission is not sufficient):
Lowe (1973) D was convicted of wilfully neglecting his baby son. CoA convicted conviction for manslaughter as neglect involved a
failure to act which was not sufficient.
o It does not have to be aimed at a person:
Goodfellow (1986) D set fire to his council flat to be rehomed but three people died in the fire. Despite the act (arson) being
aimed against property, not a person, the CoA upheld his conviction because all the necessary elements were present.
o It does not have to be aimed at the eventual victim:
Mitchell (1983) D pushed into a queue at a post office and hit a man who staggered backwards into an elderly woman, knocking
her down. She later died of her injuries. Guilty.
Which is dangerous on an objective test
o The act must be "such as all sober and reasonable people would inevitably recognise must subject the other person to, at least, the risk of
some harm resulting therefrom, albeit not serious harm" as held in :
R v Church (1966) D knocked a woman unconscious. Unable to revive her, he panicked and threw her in a river where she drowned.
Which causes death
o This has caused problems in drugs cases
R v Cato (1976) D and V each prepared an injection of heroin which they injected into each other. V died. As D had administered
the injection, he was guilty.
R v Dalby (1982) D supplied a drug which the V self injected and died from. Conviction quashed because even though the supply
was illegal, it had not caused the death in itself.
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R v Rogers (2003) D applied a tourniquet while the V self injected. V died. D's act was held to be playing a part in the injection.
R v Kennedy (2007) D prepared an injection of heroin which the V self injected and died from. D not guilty on appeal as the
unlawful act had not caused the death, overruling Rogers.…read more
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R v Lidar (2000): D had been asked to leave a pub. Bouncer, arguing with a passenger in the car, put his arms through the open window and
D drove off. V was dragged under the wheels and killed, D convicted of Reckless Manslaughter.
AO2 Points on the Law of Involuntary Manslaughter:
Covers a very wide range of conduct
Death may be an unexpected result (i.e.…read more