How do you class someone as human?
They must have been alive, and lived independently of their mother (not attached to the umbilical chord). Therefore fetuses aren't known as humans in criminal law
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Homicide law is the law during peacetime, what other time is there?
The law of wartime is different
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When can it be okay to kill?
When someone is in a permanent vegetative state, in self-defence, or when the act is one of necessity
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What are direct and oblique intention?
D- intention to kill O- jury may infer that a result is intended
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What is a good case for indirect intention?
DPP v Smith [1961]
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Malice, Blame and Normative Values
Modern doctrine is dominated by rational/subjective account of wickedness This underpins the importance of intention and knowledge But this is individualistic and can’t really explain much of what criminal law does.
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What is the difference between Euthanasia and Assisted suicide?
Euthanasia is an act e.g. hitting someone, assisted suicide is helping them do it, e.g. holding poison to their lips so they can drink it. But they are so similar that they often cross over
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What is positive autonomy?
Right to express what you want done to your body e.g. tattooing
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What is negative autonomy?
Right to not have things done to your body, e.g. wanting personal space
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What happened in the Kay Gilderdale case?
Administered cocktail with fatal poison to her daughter to help end her life. Assisted suicide. Charged with attempted murder but acquitted by the jury
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What happened in the Francis Inglis Case?
Non-voluntary manslaughter, since her son couldn't consent to her administering poison to him, even though the hospital offered to end his life through withholding nutrition and hydration. She was charged
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What was the difference between the two cases?
Inglis- no expression of autonomy. Gilderdale- expression of autonomy
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What is voluntary manslaughter?
Intentional killing (i.e. actus reus and mens rea for murder is present) in circumstances which the law regards as mitigating the gravity of the offence.
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What is involuntary manslaughter?
Unlawful killing without intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm’ (R v Taylor (1834) 2 Lew 215
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What does the Geneva convention say on this topic?
Injured enemies must be taken prisoner, not killed
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What is diminished responsibility?
A person (“D”) who kills or is a party to the killing of another is not to be convicted of murder if D was suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning which
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How can you be eligible for diminished responsibility?
(a)arose from a recognised medical condition, (b) substantially impaired D’s ability to do one or more of the things mentioned in subsection (1A), and (c) provides an explanation for D’s acts and omissios 2, Homicide Act 1957
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what are the most Recognised Medical Conditions?
World Health Organisation's International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10),American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).
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How can this be relied on?
To rely on the defence a D will need to introduce, as a matter of practical necessity, expert evidence to support his or her claim (see Bunch [2013] EWCA Crim 2498).
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What does it mean to be 'substantially impared?'
Section 2(1)(b) states that the abnormality of mental functioning must have substantially impaired the defendant's ability to do one or more of those things as mentioned in the new section 2(1A): a) to understand the nature of the defendant's conduct
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What is a good case for 'Substantial imparement'?
R v Golds [2016] UKSC 61: should juries ask for help in understanding ‘substantial impairment’, - essentially told the jury to know their place
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Diminished Responsibility and Intoxication
Intoxication alone won't qualify you because intoxication is voluntary, however If D suffers from alcohol dependency syndrome, then that will be treated as an abnormality of mental functioning
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Diminished Responsibility and Mercy
criminal law lacks a means by which it can identify and appropriately label cases where the killing was a compassionate response to the suffering of a loved one, it fails to recognise the complexity of the truth or the moral differences between these
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Cases of Women killing abusive partners: Sally Challen
Killed estranged husband after found evidence he could be cheating on her, he lived separately and she lived with their son David. She attempted to commit suicide but was talked down and eventually convicted of murder
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What is the new evidence that has led to her being approved for an appeal?
Recognised medical condition- mood disorder. Evidence that her husband was 'controlling and coercive'
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What is battered womens syndrome?
A mental condition suffered by women who have killed their husbands after long-term physical abuse. Women essentially feel unable to escape the situation
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What is a leading case in this area?
Ahluwalia [1992] - murdered husband after 10 years of an abusive marriage. on appeal her charge was changed from murder to voluntary manslaughter because of diminished responsibility
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Did ahluwalia want to rely on diminished responsibility?
No- because it essentially says that the killer was in part in fault. She wanted to use the defence of provocation (this now called 'loss of self-control')
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What is the problem with this?
it wasn't a sudden loss of self-control because it was premeditated
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What does Devlin j say in Duffy case?
provocation is a sudden and temporary loss of self-control
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What was found in Ahluwalia?
sudden and temporary loss of self-control’ caused by the alleged provocation. However, the longer the delay & the stronger the evidence of deliberation on the part of the defendant, the more likely it will be that the prosecution will negative prov
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What did elizabeth hart-Brown case lead to?
She stabbed her boyfriend when he attacked her. She was acquitted because she could plead self-defence but was reported as showing that the tide may be turning in view of women who kill their partners
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When can it be 'Partially excusable' to kill?
If D is so angry that they lose self-control. ('loss of self-control' replaces and abolishes 'provocation defence'). It is PE if D has good reason to be angry e.g. V ***** their child
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What is an example of this?
Sarah Sands- confronted 77yr old neighbour about him sexually abusing children, he denied it, she got scared and stabbed him
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How was she charged?
She was not charged for murder but instead for Manslaughter
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loss of self control
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Was there a loss of self control?
This is a Q for jury- did D lose self contrl? jury will have to conclude this to even consider rest of S54/55 scenarios
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Does revenge count as loss of self contrl?
S 54(4) Subsection 1 doesn't apply if person is acting out of desire for revenge
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What does Dawes 2013 say about loss of self control?
If there is a loss of self control, it doesn't matter if it's sudden
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HOWEVER- there does need to be a qualifying trigger under 2009 act
in Section 55 it states the two qualifying triggers- must be acting out of fear of serious violence OR thing said or done constituted circumstances of extremely grave character and justifies sense of being seriously wronged
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In S55 how do you determine whether a loss of self-control is a qualifying trigger?
a. Fear of serious violence is to be disregarded if it was incited by D b. violence due to finding out about sexual infidelity is to be disregarded
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Zebedee 2012
father dealing with dementia kept soiling himself during the night which his son had to deal with- Judges said there wasn't a qualifying trigger here, D was charged, shows judges sticking to the regulations
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Fear of serious violence
The threat can be to the person who carried out the killing or to an identified person, doesn't have to be a correctly interpreted threat. Must be a fear of violence that is serious. This is less blameworthy than if you will when there isnt threat
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How does this tie into battered women's syndrome?
They may perceive themselves to be under threat of serious violence even if they are not
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Justifiable sense of being seriously wronged
defence is much narrower here. **** is something that could come within this trigger, a break up would not
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What happended in Dawes 2013?
Judges said that trigger could be used provided it hadnt been an excuse
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What happened in Clinton 2012?
Husband killed wife after she taunted him about her sexual infidelity & his failed suicide attempts. Trial said that her sexual infidelity was explicitly excluded in 2009 act. But this only applies when sexual infidelity is the only trigger
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So what was concluded?
she was taunting about 2 different things, it was therefore appropriate to have info on sexual infidelity bc it was part of broader relevant context
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What should stop honour killings getting accepted?
The objective test- but can we trust juries to do that?
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What could be said about diminished responsibility?
all of the circumstances in which we would want to partially excuse a killing, outside of it, there can't be excuses
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What is it like for a woman to plead?
if a woman pleads diminished responsibility, it has questions for how you are perceived. If you go for lack of self-control, it tends to be more excusable
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what is the difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter?
actus reas and mens rea of murder are present in voluntary manslaughter
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what are the main types of manslaughter?
gross negligence, constructive manslaughter (Reckless manslaughter, but is debatable whether this exists or whether it is covered by the other two)
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Gross negligence manslaughter
two men convicted of manslaughter of megan Lee as a result of a reaction to peanut oil at a kebab shop that the men worked at
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What happened to Dr Bawa-Garba?
a young Boy died while under her care, her conviction has led to upset in the medical community
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What is the leading case in Gross negligence manslaughter?
R v Adomako (1994) two anesthetists monitoring patient during eye operation, failed to notice that tube supplying oxygen detached until alarm sounded and was convicted of manslaughter
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What is the 4 part test for gross negligence manslaughter?
Did D owe V a duty of care? Did D breach it? Did it cause V's death? was the breach so grossly negligent to justify a criminal conviction?
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R v Sellu [2016]
Doctor who's patient died during surgery, case was based on standard of care based on 24 hour period following op. He should have operated to repair perforated colon earlier than he did
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In Sellu, the judge didn't properly direct the jury. What did the CA say?
The jury should understand that what he did would have had to be 'truly exceptionally bad'. They looked at Misra and Srivastava [2004]
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Code for Crown Prosecutors: sets out and elaborates on the law
is it in public interest? Does Adomako test leave room for manoeuvre re the evidential test? What role should predicted sympathies of a jury have in prosecutorial decision making?
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CPS lawyers talked about needing 'badness'
'you need something more than a serious error of judgement; you need something 'dirty' that the jury can latch onto'
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Rowley v DPP (2003)
it's cleara from Adomako that there must be criminality or 'badness'. The jury must be sure that the defendant's conduct was so bad in all circumstances to amount to a criminal act or omission' (Kennedy LJ)
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What are CPS lawyers doing?
Using legal tests that the courts don't . using Rowley to avoid prosecutions
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reforming the law of homicide
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an issue is that 'murder' is too broad.
said by John Spencer' Messing up Murder (2008)
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what are the two issues with murder?
Do labels matter? They aren't only about legal labels but social ties with them. There is also a mandatory life sentence, which leads to problems with mercy killers vs terrorists both getting life sentences
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is manslaughter too broad?
label really communicates very little because of vast differences. All it means is that someone has caused someone's death, saying nothing about intention, recklessness, foresight, mental conditions.
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Law commission said there should be a 'ladder' principle
a system of degrees of murder, with manslaughter at the bottom, 2nd degree murder (voluntary manslaughter- intention to do serious harm but weren't aware of risks) and first degree murder (those with the intention to kill)
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Homicide law is the law during peacetime, what other time is there?


The law of wartime is different

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When can it be okay to kill?


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What are direct and oblique intention?


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What is a good case for indirect intention?


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