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Involuntary Manslaughter

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Katie Stoker

on 11 June 2017

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Transcript of Involuntary Manslaughter

Involuntary Manslaughter
Involuntary Manslaughter (P3 & M3)
Involuntary manslaughter is an
unlawful killing
where the defendant does not have the
intention to kill
cause GBH
So what is the difference?
Voluntary Manslaughter
D has intention to kill or cause GBH, but the charge is reduced from murder to manslaughter because D has an 'abnormality of mental functioning'
Involuntary Manslaughter
Behaviour of D which caused the death can be highly blameworthy as there was a high risk of causing death or serious injury. D's behaviour may verge on carelessness
Maximum sentence?
The three different types are...
1.Constructive Act Manslaughter (also known as unlawful act manslaughter)

2. Gross Negligence Manslaughter

3. Reckless Manslaughter
Unlawful act manslaughter
This is also known as
constructive act manslaughter
because the liability for the death is built up or constructed from the facts that D has done a
dangerous unlawful act
which caused the death.
FOCUS - can you think of any dangerous, unlawful act that might result in death?
D will be liable, even though he did not realise that death or injury might occur.
FOCUS - is this fair?
three main elements of this offence...
Involuntary Manslaughter - P3 & M3
> to fulfil the criteria, as a group you must
find a real life example of involuntary manslaughter

> print out the article and explain WHY that person was guilty of one of the three different types - apply the law and give reasons

> this is as well as your video analysis
1. D must do an unlawful act

2. the act must be dangerous on an objective test

3. the act must cause the death


4. D must have the required
mens rea
for the unlawful act
1. D must do an unlawful act
must be a criminal offence
What is an 'unlawful act'?
is there a criminal offence here?
Examples of the offences which have led to a finding of unlawful act manslaughter include
arson, criminal damage and burglary
What about omissions?
There must be an act. An omission cannot create liability for unlawful act manslaughter.
Khan and Khan (1998)
D/D supplied a young prostitute with heroin. They knew she was a new user. She injected herself in their presence but went into a coma. Ds left the flat and when they returned the next day she was dead.

CofA quashed their conviction for unlawful act manslaughter as they had not done an unlawful act. They had omitted to get help for her when she was in a coma,but that omission was not an act for the purposes of unlawful act manslaughter
Case law...
R v Lowe (1983)
R v Larkin (1942)
R v Mitchell (1983)
AG Ref No.3 of 1994 (1997)
R v Church (1965)
Dawson (1985)
Cato (1976)
Did you find a news article?
Second element - the unlawful act must be dangerous on an objective test
Church (1996)
it must be...'such as all sober and reasonable people would inevitably recognise...the risk of at least some harm resulting therefrom, albeit not serious harm.'
the harm caused need not be serious
if a 'sober and reasonable person' realises that the unlawful act might cause some injuy, then this part of the test is satisfied
it does not matter that D did not realise there was any risk of harm to another person.
Larkin (1943)
D threatened another man with an open cut - throat razor in order to frighten him
The mistress of the other man tried to intervene and, because she was drunk, accidentally fell onto the open blade which cut her throat and killed her
On appeal his conviction for manslaughter was upheld.
The act of threatening another man with the razor was a technical assault.
It was also an act which was dangerous because it was likely to injure someone
the act need not be aimed at V
. In Mitchell (1983) D tried to push his way into a queue at a post office. A 72 yr old man told him off. D then punched the man, causing him to stagger backwards into an 89 yr old woman. Woman was knocked over and injured, a few days later she died. Convicted of unlawful act manslaughter.
Third element - the unlawful act must cause the death of V
don't forget the rules on causation!
if there is an act which breaks the chain of causation then D cannot be liable for manslaughter
Cato (1976)
Dalby (1982)
D supplied a drug called Diconal which V then self injected
D's conviction for manslaughter was quashed
CofA held that although supplying the drug was an unlawful act, it was not the act of supplying which caused the death
Injection was the cause of death - voluntary act by V - it had broken the chain of causation
D and V each prepared an injection of a mix of heroin and water.
They then injected each other.
V died
By injecting V with the heroin, D had committed the unlawful act of administering a noxious substance to V
D was convicted of unlawful act manslaughter
FOCUS - what is the difference between these two cases?
The confusion around drugs cases was finally settled in the case of Kennedy (2007)

Please make sure you research this!
1. What is the mens rea for unlawful act manslaughter?

2. Briefly explain gross negligence manslaughter.

3. Research the case of Adomako (1994)
a. What are the four elements of gross negligence manslaughter?
b. Can you find any cases?
Diminished Responsibility...
Loss of control...
You have 15 minutes to research the following...
Full transcript