Actus Reus and Mens Rea for Subjective recklessness manslaughter and gross negliegence manslaughter

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SRM- Definition

  • The manslaughter of a person caused by the defendants subjective recklessness. created in 2000.
  • Actus Reus- Prosectuion only need to prove that defendant caused the death- not necessary that the defendant owes the victim a duty of care.
  • Mens rea- The defendant must have foreseen a risk of a serious injury or death occurring.
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Actus Reus

  • The prosecution only need to prove that the defendant caused the death of the victim and it is not necessary that the defendant owes the victim a duty of care
  • Causation in Law and Causation in Fact
  • R v Lidar- Arms through window and dragged under car and died from injuries- judge asked if he was reckless and not if he was negligent and therefore created a new manslaughter.
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Mens Rea

  • The mens rea of Subjective recklessness manslaughter is that the defendant must have foreseen a risk of serious injury or death occurring.
  • This test is defined by the case of R v Cunningham.
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To prove GNM need to prove three elements;

  • duty of care
  • a breach which cases the death
  • gross negligence
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Duty of care

  • Duty of care; where a person owes a duty to another e.g. teacher to students, parent to child or doctor to patient - DPP v Adomako - 'the ordinary principles of the law of negligence apply to ascertain whether or not the defendant has been in breach of duty of care towards the victim who has died'
  • Donoghue v Stevenson- Establish duty of care- neighbouring principle - 'you must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonable foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour
  • neighbour- closely and directly affected by your actions- close proximity
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Breach of Duty

  • Breach must be proven to be committed of GNM- The breach of duty will be based on the standard of a reasonable person conducting the activity involved n the crime.
  • R v Prentice- initially convictd of GNM- they were allowed to take into account he was a junior doctor
  • R v Miller he owed a duty of care arising out of a dangerous situation- he breached his duty by leaving the mattress on fire and moving away
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Gross Negligence

  • When gross negligence in proposed in court, it is up to the jury to decide and ask themselves if the defendant deserves to go to prison for the act that they have committed
  • Adomako- Developed a Obiter (other things said) statements as to what could be grossly negligent
    • indifference to an obvious risk
    • actual foresight of a risk.
    • an appretiation of a risk
    • Inattention or failure to advert (texting while driving)
  • Ilustrated by R v Holloway- Electrician- judge used objective test and not both- recklessness should include subjective (Cunningham) and objective (Caldwell)
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