Unlawful Act Manslaughter

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Rhian Nicole Mason
This is also known as constructive manslaughter and consists of:
An unlawful act
A dangerous act
The act causes death
Unlawful Act
The act must be a criminal offence
It must be an act not an omission
Ignorance or foolishness would not be enough as no criminal offence is involved
Lamb (1976) ­ playing with loaded revolver, didn't know barrel revolved, shot and killed,
charged with unlawful act but pointing a gun is not unlawful although it was dangerous
and fatal
Physical assault, burglary, arson, criminal damage
Dangerous Act
Objective Test: Would a reasonable man see a risk of some harm resulting from the act?
Mitchell (1983) The harm need not be aimed at the victim post office queue
Dawson (1985) ­ herm intended must be actual physical harm, it would not be enough to
just frighten them ­ robbery where attendant had a heart attack, not seen as dangerous
Watson (1989) ­ if the victim is frail and vulnerable the harm is going to be obvious ­
broke into 87 y/o house and scared her, she later died
The act of causing fear and apprehension in such a situation could result in manslaughter if death
is a consequence. The harm may not be aimed at a person, instead aimed at property but if they
die it will result in manslaughter. Kennedy (2007) ­ Drug dealer gave addict drugs, they
voluntarility took it and died, dealer does not get manslaughter.
Which Causes Death
The unlawful act must be the substantial cause of death:
CorionAuguiste (2004) ­ firework lit in bus station, old lady knocked over in the panic and died.
Sholid (2003) ­ defendant was part of a gang who attacked victim and friend, victim was forced
onto a train track, not by the defendant but was charged with manslaughter.
Carey (2006) ­ Victim threatened by gang and ran away, suffered from a heart attack from running
but defendant was not charged with manslaughter.


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