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Flashcards in Involuntary manslaughter Deck (19):

Constructive Manslaughter

1. There must be a criminal act
2. The criminal act must be dangerous
3. The unlawful dangerous act must cause death


Criminal Act

R v Franklin (1883)Only offences against criminal law would suffice:


Act of ommision

Lowe [1973]
Criminal act must take the form of an actus reus.
D found to have wilfully neglected her child contrary to s.1 of Children and Youngn persons Act 1933 by her failure to arrange for medical treatment despite her childs obvious need of her childs medical atention


A dangerous act

Newbury [1977] "the unlawful act must be such as all sober and reasonable people would inevitably recognise must subject the other person to, at least, the risk of some harm resulting therefrom, albeit not serious harm."


risk of some harm


Dawson [1985]- D pointed immitaton firearm at middle age man, who got frightened and suffereda fatal heart attack as a result. Ca: not constructive mansalughter.

PL: Fright not included in Church formulation of harm. Some form of bodily harm is required.
-> Sober and reasonable people to be invested with the knowledge availble to D at the time of his act, no less no more.
-> this includes mistaken belief - R v Ball [1989]
watson: man was old, (class of people expected to have heart attacks. charge upheld.


No 'aimed at' requirement

A-G'S Reference (No. 3 of 1994)- The defendant stabbed his pregnant girlfriend. Baby born premature- died as a result.


Unlawful act must CAUSE DEATH

matter of causation

This has been particularly problematic for the courts in relation to where a death occurs from taking drugs. The question arises as to whether those who supply such drugs can be liable for manslaughter


Cato [1976]

Two drug addicts obtained heroin of a high degree of purity. As was their practice, they consensually injected heroin for each other. Each of them became comatose. D recieved medical treatment and survived whereas V died. CA: Widgery's says unlawful act is possesion of heroin in the injection at the time the act was commited. No crime of possesion.


Kennedy No. 2 (2005)

K supplied heroin to MB in a syringe ready for injection, MB injected himself and returned the syringe to K who left the room. The heroin resulted in MB's death. K was convicted in 1997 of supplying a Class A  drug and of manslaughter. Recognised error of suggestion that K secondary party to MB's self-injection, the Criminal Cases Review Commission (“CCRC”) referred the case back to the Court of Appeal.


Unlawful act usually relied upon in drug cases

“Whosoever shall unlawfully and maliciously administer to or cause to be administered to or taken by any other person any poison or other destructive or noxious thing, so as thereby to endanger the life of such person, or so as thereby to inflict upon such person any grievous bodily harm shall be guilty of [an offence].”
The s.23 offence might therefore be committed in three ways8 :
(i) administering a noxious (etc.) substance “to any other person”;
(ii) causing such a substance to be administered “to any other person”;
(iii) causing such a substance to be taken by “any other person”.


Ormerod & Forston Charge produces numerous issues

e.g. whether V's factual consent to administration is valid in law
-> whether heroin is a noxious substance,
-> issues of causation


Probelms in Kennedy
No way Kennedy could be secondary

->A person is not an accessory to manslaughter by encouraging another person to take his own life as there is no principal offender to whom he is the accessory. In the  drug administration cases V commits no crime as principal, other than possession of the  drugs. It is not an offence contrary to s.23 for a person to administer a deadly poison to himself.
- CAUSATION- If D supplies the syringe and the heroin, and V self-injects, V has performed a free deliberate informed act of self-administration, and it is that act which represents the administration. D commits no s.23 offence


R v Dias .

R v Dias [2002]: held that it is never appropriate to convict a person of constructive manslaughter, where he supplies a class A drug to a fully informed and responsible adult who then freely and voluntarily self administers the drug.
affirmed in Kennedy 2007.


Mens Rea of Constructive Ms

Newbury- no mr for C.M.S only mr required for unlawful act.


Gross Negligence Manslaughter

Lord Hewart in Bateman Jury q "Negligence of the accused went beyond a mere matter of compensation between subjects and showed such disregard for life and safety of others, as to amount to a crime against the state"


Adomako [1995]

To incur liability for this form of MS:
->D must have been i nbreach of a duty of care under the ordinary principlees of tort of negligence
->AND her negligence must have caused death of V.


A-G ref no 2 of 1999 [2000

Gross negligence requires no MR


R v Evans [2009]

A woman who supplied drugs to her sister was held to owe a duty of care to summon help for her when she displayed symptoms of an overdose. The duty arose not from her familial relationship, nor from her acceptance of duty but through her supplying the drugs and thus creating a dangerous situation


R v Wacker [2002]

defence of ex turpi causa, which operates in civil law to negate a duty of care where the victim is acting is acting in the course of a joint criminal enterprise when injury is inflicted, has no application in criminal law

driver of a lorry carrying 60 Chinese illegal immigrants