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Page 1

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Chapter 2


Voluntary
manslaughter
T here are three special defences to a charge of murder. These are where the
killing occurs when the defendant is under:

· diminished responsibility;
· loss of control; or
· a suicide pact.
Diminished responsibility and suicide are set out in the Homicide Act 1957.…

Page 2

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28 AQA Law for A2


2.1 Diminished responsibility Byrne (1960)
This defence was introduced by the Homicide Act
1957. It did not exist in English law until then. The defendant was a sexual psychopath who
Before 1957 if a person with mental problems strangled a young woman and then mutilated…

Page 3

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Voluntary manslaughter 29


In Lloyd (1967) it was held that substantial Ability to understand the nature of his
does not mean total, nor does it mean trivial or
minimal. It is something in between and it is for
conduct
the jury to decide if the defendant's mental This covers situations…

Page 4

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30 AQA Law for A2


D's abnormality of mental functioning and the in addition, is intoxicated at the time he does the
killing. killing. This occurred in Dietschmann (2003).
Section 1B of the Homicide Act 1957 explains
this principle further as it states:
Dietschmann (2003)
`...an abnormality of mental

"…

Page 5

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Voluntary manslaughter 31


approach is likely to be that the jury must decide:
was convicted. The Court of Appeal dismissed
q if D had an abnormality of mental functioning her appeal because Tandy had not shown that
arsing from a recognised medical condition; her brain had been injured (a test…

Page 6

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32 AQA Law for A2


When hearing the appeal in the case Wood, the
Court of Appeal considered the effect of the Self-Test Questions
judgment in Dietschmann on the decision in
Tandy. They held that Alcohol Dependency 1. Which section of which Act sets out the
Syndrome could be considered…

Page 7

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Voluntary manslaughter 33


recommended that the definition of diminished 2.1.9 Problems remaining in the law
responsibility should be modernised so as to take
into account changing medical knowledge. Although the Coroners and Justice Act has
The changes made by the 2009 Act have done resolved many of the previous problems…

Page 8

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34 AQA Law for A2


There is also the possibility that putting the should also be included within the definition of
burden of proof on the defendant may be a diminished responsibility. Their reason for this
breach of Art 6(2) of the European Convention on was because there is evidence…

Page 9

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Voluntary manslaughter 35


juvenile offenders. This is true but `developmental death. The loss of self-control does not have to be
immaturity' is not the same as learning disability. sudden. This was a rule of the former defence of
If there is no such defence, children as young provocation. It led…

Page 10

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36 AQA Law for A2


(b) caused D to have a justifiable sense of q they were of an `extremely grave character' and
being seriously wronged. q they caused D to have a justifiable sense of
being seriously wronged.
Alternatively, the qualifying trigger can be a
combination of these two…

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