Voluntary Manslaughter.ppt by xiaoshuogu


Getting away with Murder…What
              you need to know!
Voluntary Manslaughter
   There are two types of manslaughter:
       Voluntary Manslaughter
       Involuntary Manslaughter
   Voluntary Manslaughter- D would be guilty of
    murder but has successfully raised a defence
    (Involuntary Manslaughter- lacks the
    necessary mens rea for murder (no
    maliceaforthought) but can be can be
    convicted of constructive or gross negligence
1. What defences can reduce a charger of murder to
Diminished responsibility, Suicide Pact or Provocation.
2. What is the required mens rea for murder?
Malicaforethought (planning)
3. What is voluntary manslaughter?
D has committed murder but successfully raised a
4. What is involuntary manslaughter?
D has caused the death of V but lack the necessary
   mens rea. Gross negligence or constructive
             A jury hearing the case of a man accused of murdering his daughter has heard the
              contents of sexual emails between his wife and her lover. Hospital radiographer Gavin Hall,
              33, killed three-year-old Amelia as her mother and sister slept in their Northamptonshire home.
             Mr Hall, of Irchester, denies murder but admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished

                                                    DAUGHTER KILLED MUM IN A FRENZIED KNIFE ATTACK
                                                      Stabbing was in revenge for child being taken into care
A woman who admitted stabbing her mother to death in a frenzied attack in revenge for her child being taken into care has been sentenced to an indefinite hospital
 Schizophrenic Nicola Edgington, 26, killed churchgoer mum Marion during what was supposed to be a happy family gathering at the 60-year-old's home in Forest
                            Mrs Edgington had chillingly predicted her "wayward" daughter may try to harm her because of the grievance.
         The "much-loved" mother-of-three had lived in fear of her own child and had cut her out of her will because she was so worried about her mental state.
 Nicola Edgington admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at Lewes Crown Court this week and was sentenced under the Mental Health
                                    The court heard she had an "attachment" to a cousin who had also stabbed someone to death.
Partial Defences
   There are special defences available to
    people who commit murder if they can show
    one of the following:
   Diminished responsibility
   Provocation or
   Suicide Pact

    All the above defences set out in Homicide
    Act 1957.
What do Partial defences
   Defendant is not completely acquitted.
   Instead the charge of murder is reduced to
   This gives Judges flexibility to decide what
    sort of sentence to impose.
   E.g. If D is not dangerous, he or she may
    only be given a short sentence.
   What happened in Byrne (1960)?
So what is Diminished
   Copy out Section 2 (1) of the Homicide Act

   Your Client Farra Nuts has come to you because
    she has killed Saman Sam in a moment of road
    rage, she was a passenger in a car driven by Ibraa

   What does Farra Nuts need to prove to plead
    diminished responsibility?
Byrne (1960)

D strangled to death and then mutilated a young woman, confessing
to both in full. D raised the defence of diminished responsibility.
Since childhood he had suffered from perverted sexual desires that
created irresistible impulses. His acts were driven by one of these
impulses on the day in question.

He was originally convicted of murder. But CA overturned this,
despite him being able to tell the difference between right and
wrong etc… He clearly had an irresistible impulse where he
could not control his sick desires and therefore he had
abnormality of mind.

Held: Diminished responsibility covers all the activities of the mind.
Abnormality of the mind does not have to be connected with

Medical experts described D’s condition as amounting to partial
    Seers (1984)
   D stabbed his estranged wife and claimed
    diminished responsibility on grounds of chronic
    reactive depression. The trial judge directed that for
    the defence to be successful Seers had to be
    bordering on the insane.
    CA Held: The judge’s direction was wrong! The
    required abnormality of mind can cover severe
    shock or depression especially in cases of mercy
    killings and pre-menstrual syndrome.

   The test of borderline or partial insanity had been
    appropriate in the case of R v Byrne.
    Guilty of manslaughter
Create a brainstorm on
Abnormality of Mind…
What is Substantial?
The abnormality of mind must be substantial
But what is substantial?
In Byrne the court said whether the impairment was
   substantial was for the jury to decide

However in Lloyd 1967 substantial does not mean total
  nor does it mean trivial or minimal. It is something in
  between and is for the jury to decide.

However as impairment of the mind is a qu of fact the judge
  can withdraw this point from the jury if there is no
  evidence on which a reasonable jury could conclude that
  the D mental responsibility was impaired.
Diminished Responsibility and
   In DiDuca (1959)
   Key Word: Transient: lasting only a short
   In this case CA held that that the instant
    effects of drugs and alcohol did not amount to
    an injury, even if it did affect the brain.
   Therefore a transient state of intoxication
    does not become an ABNORMALITY OF
   If the brain has been injured through
    alcoholism then you can support a finding for
    diminished responsibility.
                                    thing… I am
   Tandy (1989)                    an alcoholic
                                      and not a
   D, an alcoholic, had drunk nearly a bottle of vodka when she
    strangled her 11 yr old daughter. (She normally drank Vermouth
    or Barley wine),
    Held: In order for a craving for drink to produce an ‘abnormality
    of mind’ caused by alcoholism, there had to be:
   1. grossly impaired judgement and emotional responses.
   2.  or the craving had to be such as to make the first drink of
    alcohol of the day involuntary.

   But, if the accused had simply not resisted an impulse to drink
    she could not rely on the defence of diminished responsibility

    and if D took the first drink of the day voluntarily, the whole of
    the drinking on that day was voluntary, and diminished
    responsibility was not available to her.
   Watkins LJ:

   'If the alcoholism has reached the level at which her brain
    had been injured by the repeated insult from intoxicants so
    that there was gross impairment of her judgment and
    emotional responses, then the defence of diminished
    responsibility was available to her ... if her drinking was
    involuntary, then her abnormality of the mind at the time of
    the act of strangulation was induced by her condition of

   Guilty of murder.
Talking Point
   Do you think the decision in Tandy (1989)
    and Inseal (1992) is fair?
   Give reasons.
   Where a mother kills her recently born child
   Child U12m
   Mother does not have a younger child
   And if balance of her mind was disturbed by
    reason of her not having fully recovered from
    the effect of giving birth to the child or by
    reasons of effects of lacerations
    consequential upon the birth
   What happens if a persons already has some
    abnormality of mind and is also intoxicated?
    Gittens (1984)

    D was suffering from depression. During a visit home from
    hospital he argued with his wife and beat her to death and then
    raped and killed his stepdaughter. At the time of the offence he
    had been drinking and taking drugs for depression.
    Held: D can benefit from DR if the inherent causes like
    depression would have caused him kill whether or not he took
    drugs or drank alcohol.
    Guilty of manslaughter not murder
Dietschmann HL (2003)
   Key Idea: Dietschmann was not ’new
    law’ but simply explained what the
    law had always been…
   In this case D killed a man in a savage attack whilst
    he was very drunk. He was also suffering from a
    mental abnormality, called an adjustment disorder
    which was a depressed grief reaction following the
    death of his aunt, Sarah, with whom he had had a
    close emotional and physical relationship.
Dietschmann HL (2003)
   D charged with murder.
   Case went to CA but appeal was dismissed.
   Case went to HL to clarify the Law.
   HL held that it was clear that abnormality of mind
    substantially impaired his mental responsibility.
   HELD: Jury must ignore the alcohol and just
    consider the effect of mental abnormality at the time
    of killing and consider whether it was sufficient to
    substantially impair his responsibility.
Do we need to reform
Diminished Responsibility?
1. Problems with the defence:
 Burden of Proof

 Wording of Relevant Statutes

2. Proposals for Reform
Exam Question
2. Evaluate the effectiveness of diminished
  responsibility as a defence. [50 marks]
Suicide Pact
   S 4(3) of the Homicide Act 1957 defines suicide pact
    as a common agreement between two or more
    people having for it’s object the death of all of them.
   S 4(1) of the Homicide Act 1957 provides a defence
    to murder for the survivor of a suicide pact.
   Burden of proof there was suicide pact is on the
   Standard of proof on balance of probabilities
   S3 of the Homicide Act 1957 sets out the
    defence of Provocation
   Copy out s3 of the Homicde Act 1957 pg 84

   Subjective Test-Did D loose his self control?
   Objective Test-would a reasonable man have
    lost his self control?
Can be:
 Physical assaults on D or relatives-Pearson 1992

 Homosexual advances

 Continual Crying of a 19 day old baby-Doughty 1986

 A denial of stealing the D tools-Smith 2000

 Supplying drugs to D son-Baillie 1995

 Wife having an affair -Davies 1975

 V does not have to deliberately aim the provocation
  at the D
Loss of Self Control
   Jury have to be satisfied that the D has lost his self control as a
    result of provocation.
   The test is a sudden and temporary loss of self control. Duffy
    also upheld in many cases since.
   Time lapse-the longer the gap between the provocation and the
    killing the less likely the defence will succeed- Ibrams and
    Gregory 1981
   5 days since last provocation deemed too long for sudden loss of
    self control.
   However can be a gap -Baillie 1995 threat to children went got
    gun drove to house then shot V
   Can be small matter which is last straw- Thornton 2
   Does not have to be immediate
Reasonable Man Test
   Would reasonable man have acted the way the D
   Reasonable man
   Was what would be expected of ordinary person-
   Now takes into account characteristics of D-
   Gravity of provocation- will be dependent on
    characteristics of D
   Self Control- expected to exercise reasonable self
    control- reasonable to D with his characteristics
   Currently reconsidering reform of Partial
   Minded to amend provocation to be allowed
    where :-
   D acted in response to gross provocation or
    fear of serious violence
   A person of defendants age and ordinary
    temperament (subjective test not reasonable
   Look at the scenarios on pg 91 of Jacqueline
    Martin book
   Give reasons for your answers.
Exam Question
   3 Victoria is the wife and assistant of a knife-throwing expert,
    Carl, who both work for a circus. Carl is renowned for his hot
    temper and has recently been off work suffering from depression.
    Their act consists of Victoria being strapped to a board whilst
    Carl throws twenty knives all around her from a distance of five
    metres to within as little as fifteen centimetres of her body. They
    have been doing this for many years without a single mistake
    and Carl regards his technique as perfect. One evening, just
    before their act begins, Victoria tells Carl that she is having an
    affair with the lion tamer, Wayne. Carl is shocked and enraged
    but, at that moment, the fanfare strikes up for the start of their act
    and Carl and Victoria enter the ring to start their performance.
    The third knife Carl throws goes straight into Victoria’s heart,
    killing her instantly.
    Discuss Carl’s liability for Victoria’s death. [50]

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