voluntary manslaughter

overview of the topic with the main cases and information, ready for section A or B.the problems and reforms are secton A only.

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  • Created on: 25-05-12 16:30

Voluntary Manslughter

The actus reus of murder is the unlawfully killing of a reasonable creature in beign under the queens peace. This is the act needed by the defendent. it can be reduced in two ways.

Diminished Responsibility.


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Diminished Responsibility

Diminished responsibility is where the person is suffering an abnormality of the mind arising from a specific cause, substnacially impairign his mental reponsibility.

Diminished responsibility often recognises new conditions. In bryne an abnormality of mind was defined as 'a state so different from an ordinary man, that a reasonable man woudl see it as abnormal'.

In Hobson, D was suffering from batered wife syndrome, her husband often abused her, she killed him and raised diminished responsibility. This was allowed for the first time.

Hobson was followed in the case of thornton and Auhuwalia.

In seers it was clear that when deciding an abnormality of mind they must not refer to insanity.

An abnormality must have a specific cause, mainly internal. In di cuca it was decided that intoxication will never succeed. Later changed in Fenton, it is allowed if there is a pre-existing disorder.

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Diminished Responsibility continued

Gittens developed a test for intoxication, that the abnormality would still occur and impair responsibility if D was sober. This was confimed in the case Dietschman but was also held to be incorrect, a confucing case in law.

In wood, D and V had been drinking, D woke to find V peformgni oral sex on him, d then killed V. Courts held that diminshed responsibility is allowed as alcohol dependecy syndrome affects responsibility.

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Provocation is where D loses control in a sudden outburst of the moment and acts not as a reasonable man.

D must be provoked by things said or done.

In doughty, d threw his baby at a pram as it was persistently crying. The trial was quashed as teh judge gave a misdirection. Unfair case.

The defendent must act in the heat of the moment and have a sudden and short loss of control, set out in Duffy.

In thornton, d was fequently abused by her husband. Once he fell asleep she stabbed him. Provocation failed as she had a cooling off period, it was not sudden.

In Humphreys, the jury must look at teh cumlative effect the provocation will have.Also in Ibrams , provocation is not a defence in the act of revenge.

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The defendent must act as a reasonable man. IN bedder d killed v after sexual tautings, this was not how a reasonable man woudl act however a reasonable man would not have sexual problems.

In camplin when d killed v with a chipatti pan after being *****, it was held that the reasonable man must have the same charecteristics as D,so have an age of 15 in this case.

In holley where d was provoked so killed his girlfriend with and axe. It was held that the defendents chrecteristics were not relevent. Only the act. Confimed in Newbury and Jones.

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1) The Homicide statute contradicts itself in different sections about the use of a reasonable man,inconsistancys in law.

2)There is no limit on hat provocation is so innocent acs such as the baby in doughty was classed as provocation, the law is unfair.

3)Provocation allows anger, such as sudden loss of control but does not allow other emotions, this is unfair and confusing.

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The law commision proposed changing the defences to gross provocation, fear of voilence or a combination of both.

There should also be no defence to that of provocation by D's own acts or of revenge.

The goverment abolished provaction allowign a defence of D being seriously wronged by the victim. Removing any problems linkign with provocation.

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Amanda Cassidy


The law is out of date on this topic.

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