Criminal Law - Involuntary Manslaughter

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Mind Map on Criminal Law - Involuntary Manslaughter, created by alena_bigg on 05/16/2014.

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alena_bigg
Created by alena_bigg over 5 years ago
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Criminal Law - Involuntary Manslaughter
1 Constructive (Unlawful Act) Manslaughter
1.1 1) D does an act 2) That act is unlawful 3) That act is dangerous 4) That act causes V to die
1.1.1 D does an act
1.1.1.1 If an omission and not murder it can only be reckless manslaughter or gross negligence
1.1.2 That act is unlawful
1.1.2.1 An act which is lawful per se cannot be the basis for unlawful act manslaughter simply by the reason it was carried out (e.g. no unlawful act in relation to careless driving which causes death)
1.1.2.2 Prosecution must prove that there was a complete base crime, actus reus and mens rea must both be there
1.1.2.2.1 Lamb

Annotations:

  • Boys who were playing with revolver - didnt realise it was loaded Court of appeal held that as the prosecution had been unable to prove that D had the mens rea for assault (intention or recklessness to cause V to apprehend immediate unlawful harm) there was no complete base crime and therefore no manslaughter)
1.1.2.2.1.1 In Lamb it was established that mens rea is an essential ingredient, the mens rea is that of the base crime, what if the base crime is that of strict liability, does that make unlawful act manslaughter an offence of strict liability too?
1.1.2.2.1.1.1 Andrews [2002]
1.1.2.3 No restriction on the type of crime which can be relied on and it does not have to be aimed at another person provided it is dangerous
1.1.2.3.1 Goodfellow

Annotations:

  • The appellant had been harassed by two men and wished to move from his council accommodation. In order to get re-housed he set fire to his house making it look as if it had been petrol bombed. Unfortunately his wife, son and son's girlfriend all died in the fire
1.1.3 That act is dangerous
1.1.3.1 Test for dangerous acts set out in Church
1.1.3.1.1 A sober and reasonable person
1.1.3.1.1.1 Would inevitably recognise
1.1.3.1.1.1.1 The act might subject V
1.1.3.1.1.1.1.1 To the risk of some physical harm
1.1.3.1.1.2 Dawson

Annotations:

  • A sober and reasonable person would not have recognised a 60 year old man as having a weak heart
1.1.3.1.1.3 Watson

Annotations:

  • During the course of a burglary D must have become aware of V's approximate age and frailty, a sober and reasonable bystander would also have become aware of those circumstances, therefore D's unlawful act was Church dangerous
1.1.3.1.1.4 Any knowledge of the defendant, including a mistaken belief, can not be imputed to the sober and reasonable person (Ball)
1.1.4 That act causes V to die
1.1.4.1 Importance of Kennedy in this context
1.2 DPP v Newbury and Jones

Annotations:

  • Boys throw a slab off a railway bridge, kills train driver. There is no requirement that the defendant foresees that some harm will result from his action. Consequently it need only be established that the defendant had the mens rea of the unlawful act committed. There is no requirement that the of mens rea in relation to the ensuing death
2 Gross Negligence Manslaughter
2.1 Originally set out in Bateman

Annotations:

  •    ‘In order to establish criminal liability the facts must be such that, in the opinion of the jury, the negligence of the accused went beyond a mere matter of compensation between subjects and showed such disregard for the life and safety of others as to amount to a crime against the state and conduct deserving of punishment.’  Per Lord Hewart CJ   
2.1.1 This was followed in Andrews v DPP
2.1.1.1 "Simple lack of care such as will constitute civil liability is not enough: for purposes of the criminal law there are degrees of negligence: and a very high degree of negligence is required to be proved before the felony is established."
2.1.2 "In order to establish criminal liability the facts must be such that in the opinion of the jury the negligence of the accused went beyond a mere matter of compensation between subjects and showed such disregard for the life and safety of others as to amount to a crime against the State and conduct deserving punishment."

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