Involuntary Manslaughter

A2 Law unit 3 Involuntary Manslaughter

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  • Created on: 02-01-11 13:36

INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER.

-An acquittal for murder may be substituted for an Involuntary Manslaughter conviction so it is not true to say that  Involuntary Manslaughter is always charged.

-Examples:

-R v Woollin: Facts of: Direction of substantial risk rather than virtual certainty.

-Provocation is able to prove the Actus Reas of murder but cannot prove the MR hence the MR of IM cannot be malice aforethought.

-There is no set definition it is just known to be less than malice aforethought.

-There are 3 forms of involuntary manslaughter:

            -Reckless Manslaughter

            -Gross Negligence Manslaughter

            -Unlawful Act Manslaughter.

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GROSS NEGLIGENCE MANSLAUGHTER.

-The MR for GNM is that D was grossly negligent

-This is assessed objectively against a reasonable man with the same skills/expertise

-Negligence is a civil term from the civil law of tort

-For GNM (criminal law) the negligence must be gross due to the consequences of conviction i.e. harsher consequences require more proof of fault

-Conviction goes beyond requiring mere compensation (Bateman 1925)

 -When assessing whether negligence was gross courts should consider: seriousness of the breach & how far D’s conduct was from the proper standard (Adomako 1994) facts of: Failed to notice disconnected oxygen tube

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GROSS NEGLIGENCE MANSLAUGHTER

-For D to be convicted P must prove:

            -D owed a duty of care

            -D was in breach of that duty of care

            -D’s breach involved a risk of death

            -D’s breach caused death

            -D’s breach was criminal/grossly negligent

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GROSS NEGLIGENCE MANSLAUGHTER

D Owed a Duty of Care:

-This is the same as the general principles of civil negligence with the court considering the relationship between D and V

-Where the relationship is already recognised as giving rise to a duty of care (an established relationship) the judge will direct the jury such

-Where the relationship is a new relationship then it is for the jury to decide as to whether or not D owed V a duty of care by asking:

            -Was it reasonably foreseeable that D’s actions would cause V’s death?

            -R v Litchfield (1997) – Captain and crew new relationship

            -R Wacker (2003) – D carrying illegal immigrants owed duty of care

            -R v Willoughby (2005) – Where D and V in illegal enterprise owe duty of care

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GROSS NEGLIGENCE MANSLAUGHTER

D in Breach of Duty of Care:

-D’s breach may be either an act or an omission (e.g. failing to reconnect oxygen tube)

-It is for the jury to decide whether D’s conduct fell bellow the standard of a reasonable man i.e. it is an objective test

-The jury must take into account D’s particular skills and expertise (e.g. in Adomaku the RM was an anaesthetist)

-D does not have to be aware of the risk of the breach (Mark 2004)

            -R v Mark (2004) – D did not know cleaning fluids used would explode

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GROSS NEGLIGENCE MANSLAUGHTER

D’s Breach Involves a Risk of Death:

-This is an objective test assessed against a reasonable prudent person

-Would a reasonably prudent person have foreseen that the breach involved a risk of death (not just injury)?

-It must be foresight of a very high risk (Brown  2005)


D’s Breach Caused Death:

-See Actus Reus: Causation (causation in fact, causation in law, breaking the chain etc.)

            -R v Pittwood (1902) – Breached contract by failing to close crossing gate

 

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GROSS NEGLIGENCE MANSLAUGHTER

 

D’s Breach Was Criminal/Grossly Negligent:

-When assessing whether negligence was gross courts should consider: seriousness of the breach & how far D’s conduct was from the proper standard (Adomako 1994)

-This is assessed objectively by comparing D’s conduct to that expected of a reasonable man

-As a result there is no need for P to prove fault by D merely that his standards fell bellow a RMs

-It is for the jury to decide whether D’s negligence was gross enough to justify punishment for manslaughter

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UNLAWFUL ACT MANSLAUGHTER

-This is also known as constructive manslaughter as the liability for manslaughter is constructed from liability for a lesser offence

-The AR is the AR of the lesser offence plus causing death

-The MR is committing the AR deliberately and the MR of lesser offence

            -R v Newbury (1977) – D committed AR of criminal damage causing death

 -Hence P must prove:

            -D deliberately did an act

            -D’s act was criminally unlawful

            -D’s act was dangerous

            -D’s act caused death

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UNLAWFUL ACT MANSLAUGHTER

D Did a Deliberate Act:

-P must prove that D acted deliberately/intentionally. There is no requirement to prove D intended to kill/cause harm (Newbury 1977)

 

-Note that D must have committed a deliberate act, not an omission

-AR by omission is not sufficient for UAM (Lowe 1973)

-Remember it may still be reckless manslaughter (Stone & Dobinson 1977) or gross negligent manslaughter (Adomako 1995)

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UNLAWFUL ACT MANSLAUGHTER

D’s Act Was Criminally Unlawful:

-D does not have to be aware that their act was criminally unlawful

-The offences must be ones based upon intention or recklessness, negligence is not sufficient for UAM (Andrews 1937)

-P must prove both AR and MR inorder to convict

            -R v Lamb (1967) – Lacked MR as did not realise gun was loaded

-UAM may be construct upon an offence of strict liability (Andrews 2002)

            -R v Andrews (2002) – D unlawfully administered V with insulin

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UNLAWFUL ACT MANSLAUGHTER

D’s Criminal Act Was Dangerous

-D’s act must be dangerous in the eyes of a reasonable sober person i.e. it is a wholly objective assessment

-Examples:

            -R v Ball (1989) – Mixture of lives and blanks so not virtual certainty

-D’s act must subject V to risk of physical harm and must cause the harm which causes V’s death

 

D’s Unlawful Act Must Cause Death:

-See Actus Reus: Causation (causation in fact, causation in law, breaking the chain etc.)

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SUBJECTIVE RECKLESS MANSLAUGHTER

-For RM the mens rea is:

-D foresaw that death or serious harm was a highly probable consequence of his conduct (Lidar 2000)

-Note that it is assessed subjectively

-Note that highly probable is a lower level of foresight than the virtual certainty level for oblique intent murder

            -R v Lidar (2000) –Drove off with V hanging from door of car

-It is considered that this may not actually exist as there has only been one case after the descision in Adomako 

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