Gross negligence manslaughter case facts



A duty to act under a contract of employment: D was a railway employee who had a duty to close the station gates, he left it open and someone was killed. Held that he was liable for manslaughter by omission.

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A duty to act for a person holding public office: Police officer who was on duty saw V thrown out of a nightclub for fighting. 3 men kicked the V to death, D didn't do anything and told a bystander he was off duty. Held that he was liable for manslaughter by omission.

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Stone and Dobinson

A duty which has been undertaken voluntarily: The D's agreed to look after Stone's elderly sister, she refused to eat and eventually died. Held that they were liable by omission as they had a duty to act which they failed to do.

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Gibbins and Proctor

Duties arising from a relationship: D deliberately seperated 7yo from rest of the children and starved her to death. Held that both D's were liable for murder by ommissions, Gibbins had an automatic duty as he was the father and Proctor had a voluntary duty as she was Gibbins partner.

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Creation of a danger: D was a tramp who was squatting in a house in Birmingham, he fell asleep with a lit cigarette and set the room on fire. Woke up and decided to squat in a different room. It was held that D was liable for arson by omission as he had created a danger and had a duty to prevent or minimise it.

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Creation of a danger: V aged 16 was a heroin addict and lived with the D's (Mum and half-sister). Her sister bought her heroin and V overdosed, the D's put the V to bed and hoped she would recover. V died. It was held that both D's were convicted of gross negligence manslaughter by omission;

-Mum had duty of care via relationship

-Half-sister created a dangerous situation which she knew or ought to have known would be dangerous and life-threatening but failed to act.

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Termination of a duty: The V was in a PVS following the Hillsborough disaster with no chance of improvement. The doctors sought permission from the courts in order to terminate their caring duty and not be liable by omission. It was held that the doctors could terminate care whilst not becoming liable by omission, as long as it was in the best interest of the patient.

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Gross negligence due to breach of duty: D was an anaesthetist doing an eye operation. The oxygen tube became disconnected but the D failed to notice for several minutes, a competent anaesthetist would have noticed in 15 seconds. Held that the HoL's defined the test of gross negligence and held that the D should be convicted if his behaviour was so bad that it amounted to a criminal offence. 

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Risk of death: V had an operation on his knee, two doctors were responsible for post-operation care and had failed to treat V for an infection. D's were convicted of GNM but appealed stating that the 'risk of death' element was uncertain and breached Article 7 of the ECHR. Held by the CoA that Adomako was clear in setting out all the element of the offence and that a risk of death must be apparent. Conviction was upheld.

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