Criticising Voluntary Manslaughter


The Meaning of 'Loss of Control'

The Law Commission considers a loss of self-control to be a ''judicially invested concept'' which lacks a ''clear foundation in psychology''= loss of control is unlcear. 

There is no medical definition all we have is that from Duffy which states you have lost control if you are no longer master of your own mind i.e. you are acting in a way your can't control. 

LofC was kept in by the government who thought it would be used in cases involving honour killings or gang violence (Ministry of Justice CP/19/18). However= not necessary as we have the ''justifiable sense of being seriously wronged trigger'' excluding those killings. 

Provocation is persumed to mean anger instead of fear and desperation and despite changing the name to a loss of control it still has these connotations. 

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Fear of Serious Violence Trigger

Was designed to include victims of abuse. The defence still requires a LofC and so the LC wanted it removed all together. 

Problem= if you look at cases like Ahluwalia the defence of LofC would not apply because the D waited for her husband to fall asleep and so had a ''cooling...'' and this would not amount to an immediate LofC. 

The LC pointed out that women are more likely to act out due to a combination of anger, fear, frustration and a sense of desperation rather than due to their LofSC. 

Seems appropriate, particularily in the case of Ahluwalia to apply the rules os self-defence, rather than a LofC. By doing this a reasonable amount of force would account to a LofC but not excessive force. 

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Sexual Infidelity

Problem of SI which is s.55 (6)(c) the fact that a thing said or done constituted SI is to be disregarded. 

Gov did not want SI to be used as an excuse for men to use violence on their wives. However. from Clinton, and as illistrated in a report by Neil Cobb in 2012, we now have the exception that the SI provided an ''essential part of the context'' of another qualifying trigger and due to tis the SI can be mentioned if it helps explain the circumstances. 

Problems= SI is vague. 

Not clear on what would amount to SI (kissing, going on holiday).

Also, if jurors are told about the SI it might make them change their judgement (sympathetic towards D or V). 

We also will only ever have evidence from the D and not the V. 

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Reforms for Voluntary Manslaughter

  • LC recomended a three tiered strcutre for homicide' first degree (intent to kill), second degree (intent to harm) and manslaughter (no intent).
  • LC have proposed adding new criteria as D is in an abusive relationship he/she may kill from a combination of emotions.
  • Argue that because of fear of serious violence must have led to a LofC it should be restricted, because as already stated people kill due to a number of reasons. 
  • CA show an 'obvious distaste'' for the SI exclusion clause in Clinton, and it may be that the SC changes the law in the future. 
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