Involuntary Manslaughter (unlawful and dangerous act)

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  • Created on: 28-04-15 18:48
What is involuntary manslaughter in law?
The actus reus of murder but with the mens rea missing.
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What are the three elements of unlawful and dangerous act (constructive) manslaughter?
Was the D's act unlawful? Was the unlawful act dangerous? Did the unlawful and dangerous act cause death?
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What must the act be for constructive manslaughter?
Unlawful, a civil wrong will not suffice [Lamb] [Franklin] [Carey] [Meeking]
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[Lamb]
D killed friend with a revolver containing 2 bullets but both believed the gun wouldn't fire. D was not liable as no assault since friend did not fear violence and D believed no bullet would fire.
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[Franklin]
D threw box off a pier into the sea which hit and killed a swimmer. D was not liable for manslaughter as only a civil wrong.
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[Carey]
Girl ran away from a gang who attacked her and died of heart condition worsened by running away. D's manslaughter conviction quashed as only one punch was thrown. Other factors contributed but it was not objectively dangerous.
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What must the unlawful act be?
An act and not an omission [Lowe]
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[Lowe]
D convicted of wilful neglect and manslaughter of baby son. Ds conviction was quashed as there was no act when D failed to care for the child.
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[Dawson]
D held up petrol station with masks, sticks and fake gun. Attendant with heart condition died of a heart attack. Ds conviction for m/s was quashed as neither he or a reasonable man aware of V's condition.
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[Watson]
D broke into the home of an 89 year old man who had a heart attack and died 90 minutes later. D's conviction quashed on causation point but burglary was dangerous act as old mans frailty was obvious to reasonable man.
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How is dangerous assessed?
Objectively (would a sober and reasonable person realise the risk of some harm? [Church] [DPP v Newbury and Jones] [Dawson]
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[Dpp v Newbury and Jones]
Teenage boys threw part of a paving stone onto railway track, hitting the train and killing guard. The m/s convictions were upheld as only needed mens rea for act and no need to foresee the resulting harm.
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What does dangerous mean?
Some physical, psychological or psychiatric harm (including shock). [Dawson] [Watson] [Bristow] [Carey]
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[Bristow]
6 burglars raised farm workshops using 2 cars. They left via the only escape route at speed. The owner's body was found dead the following morning and the death had been caused by being run over by one of the vehicles.
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[Bristow] judgement?
The appeal was dismissed, and although it was agreed that not all burglaries were dangerous, this one was.
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Causation of drug suppliers?
Self injection will break the chain of causation [Cato] [Kennedy]
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[Cato]
D and another prepared syringes containing heroin and injected each other. The man D injected died. D was convicted of manslaughter based on an unlawful act under s23 OAPA.
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[Kennedy]
D prepared syringe containing heroin and gave it to person who self-injected and died. D's manslaughter conviction quashed by HLDs based on self injection.
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What MR is required for constructive m/s?
The MR for the unlawful act only [DPP v Newbury and Jones]
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What does physical harm include?
Wound/broken bone, shock induced by extreme fear which can cause lethal consequences e.g. heart attack. Mere emotional shock will not suffice.
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Law commission proposals in Document 237 'Legislating the Criminal Code, Involuntary Manslaughter' 1996?
Proposed abolition of involuntary m/s and its new replacement of reckless killing by gross negligence. The criteria of establishing constructive manslaughter should be subjective.
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Law Commission proposals in Murder, Manslaughter and Infanticide' 2006?
Proposed a new offence of criminal manslaughter, recommended a subjective test and wanted to abolish reckless manslaughter and rely on second degree murder.
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Card 2

Front

What are the three elements of unlawful and dangerous act (constructive) manslaughter?

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Was the D's act unlawful? Was the unlawful act dangerous? Did the unlawful and dangerous act cause death?

Card 3

Front

What must the act be for constructive manslaughter?

Back

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Card 4

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[Lamb]

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

[Franklin]

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