Involuntary Manslaughter

Constructive Manslaughter, Gross negligence manslaughter, Reckless Manslaughter.

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Constructive Manslaughter.

  • Requires the defendant to have committed an unlawful and dangerous Act.
  • This is the Actus Reus of the crime, the Mens Rea is that which is required for the unlawful Act.


  • The unlawful act must be a criminal offence and unlawful. There have been many drug cases which have required the courts to assess what an unlawful act is. CASE: R v Cato (1976).
  • Other unlawful acts include assult, arson and criminal damages, the unlawful act must cause the victims death. CASE: R v Kennedy (1999).


The act must be considered dangerous, the test for dangerousness was established in R v Church (1967). It is an objective test because it test whether the ordinary reasonable person would see a risk of harm. CASE: R v Church (1967), R v Newbury and Jones (1976), R v Watson (1989).

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Constructive Manslaughter.


Constructive manslaughter requires an unlawful act an omission is sufficient. CASE: R v Lowe (1973).


The defendant doesn't require any Mens Rea that shows that the defendant foresaw a risk of death, but the defendant must have the Mens Rea required for an unlawful dangerous act.

The transferred malice rule applies to constructive manslaughter.

CASE: R v Lamb (1967), R v Mitchell (1983).

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Gross Negligence Manslaughter.

  • Involuntary manslaughter requires a duty of care, a breach of that duty that caused death and a rish of death.
  • The Mens Rea of this crime is called gross negligence.
  • Gross negligence manslaughter differs from constructive manslaughter as it can be commiited by omission, there does not have to be an unlawful act and there must be a risk of death rather than a risk of some harm. CASE: R v Admako (1995).


  • You owe a duty of care to 'persons so closely and directly affected by my acts or omissions' as seen in Donoghue v Stevenson.
  • It is up to the judge to decide whether the defendant owes a duty of care.

CASE: R v Wacker (2002)



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Gross negligence manslaughter continued.


  • There must be a breach of duty, which means that the defendant has fallen below the standard of care expected of the ordinary 'reasonable man'.
  • The breach must also be serious.
  • It is up to the Jury to decide whethether the extent to which the defendant's conduct departed from the proper standard of care.
  • CASE: R v Becker (2000)


  • The requirement of risk of death restircts liability.
  • Not everyone who owes a duty of care ahd has breached their duty of care will be convicted of Gross negligence manslaughter
  • There must have been a foreseen risk of death.
  • CASE: R v Singh (1999).
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Reckless Manslaughter

  • There was confusion after the ruling of R v Adomako (1995) as to whether reckless manslaughter still existed.


  • The house of lords stated that there was no need for three types of involuntary manslaughter so abolished reckless manslaughter.


  • CASE: R v Lidar (1999).
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really well done - thanks for these helped cement my knowledge further :)


where is the rest of it

Maz :)

^ @Shom you have to next it :)

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