Covering one of the defences to murder where if successful will lead to a downgrade of offence to voluntary manslaughter.

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Definition from S3 of the Homicide Act

"The Jury shall take into account everything both done and said according to the effect which, in their opinion, it would have on a reasonable man."


The Two Q's Jury Need To Ask:

1) Did the Defendant loose self-control?

2) Would a reasonable person have lost self-control in these circumstances and done as defendant did?

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Doughty: Father killed his 19 day old baby as it continually cried.

- Wide range of behaviour cna prevoke someone to kill

Pearson: 2 brother killed father as he was sexually abusing the younger.

Baillie:  Defendant discovered drug dealer had threatened his kids, took a shot gun and cut-throat razor and killed the drug dealer.

- Judge ruled there had been a time lapse and wouldn't allow Jury to consider provocation, however on appeal s court had not followed procedure defendant was aquitted.


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Loss of Self-Control

Subjective Stage:

Loss of self-control must be sudden and temporary from case of Duffy.

- However within the new defence of 'Loss of Control' there is no requirement for loss of control being sudden. 

Therefore there is no 'cooling off period' or time lapse allowed as in Ibrams and Gregory.

- Lead to problems in 'Slow Burn' cases as in Thorton and Ahluwalia: where abuse over a long period could lead to an abnormality of mind from an inherant test. 

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Cases for loss of control

Ibrams & Gregory: Victim kept harrassing defendant's, who was his ex-girlfriend.  Phoned police but they did nothing. Planned to attack ex-boyfriend 3 days later.  2 days later they went and killed him.

- Could not use defence due to 'cooling off' period' and court ruled def. should have gone back to police not taken law into own hands.  

Thornton: Stabbed husband after years of abuse.       

Ahluwalia: Been abused, poured petrol over husband and set alight, he died after 6 days.

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Characteristics of Self-Control

Age and sex can be taken into account to decide whether a reasonable person would have lost control, as in Camplin

Jury should not take into account def's mental health state when looking at the objective test.

The standard of self control expected of the reasonable person as in G v Holley

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Cases for Characteristics

Camplin: 15 year old boy sexually abused by older man who laughed at him afterwards, boy grabbed a chipatti pan and hit man over the head resulting in death. 

Holley: Had been drinking and was chopping wood with an axe, girlfriend came over and admitted sleeping with another man.  The boyfriend killed her with axe. 

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