I have been given an assignment in which I have to discuss the liability of three people, Sally, Gary and Doreen, all of which have committed some type of criminal offence. As you can see they have all committed some type or have covered some aspect of a criminal offence in their actions. To discuss their liability I will first go through what they have committed and then try and pinpoint what they have done, I will also write about the defences they could use concerning the offence they have committed. To begin with lets look at sally. Sally has committed a homicide. Homicide In law is the killing of a human being.
It come under the homicide act 1957 in which it tries to say in simple words that homicide is committed when a person directly or indirectly by any means causes the death of another person commits homicide. This may be lawful or unlawful depending on the circumstances that it was done in. Unlawful homicides include things such as murder, manslaughter, infanticide, and causing death by dangerous driving. Lawful homicides occur where for example a police officer has killed a criminal in the way of arresting them because the criminal was shooting at him or when a person is killed in self-defence or defence of others.
Murder is an unlawful killing of a reasonable person by another. In British law murder is committed only when the killer acts with malice aforethought that is that they were intending either to kill or to cause serious injury, or realising that this would probably be the result. It is punishable by life imprisonment and it is the most serious form of homicide. Manslaughter in English law is the unlawful killing of a human being in circumstances less culpable than murder.
For example, when the killer suffers extreme provocation, or is in some way mentally ill (diminished responsibility), or did not intend to kill but did so accidentally in the course of another crime or by behaving with criminal recklessness, or is the survivor of a genuine suicide pact that involved killing the other person. It could also be caused by sudden provocation sufficient enough to deprive a normal person of the power of self-control, providing the person who did it acted on it quickly, before there was time to cool down. Murder and manslaughter share the same actus reus i. e. one person unlawfully kills another.
At one time it was said that death must occur within a year and a day but this has now been abolished. Murder consists of an unlawful killing with malice aforethought. Manslaughter is primarily classified as voluntary or involuntary. In voluntary manslaughter all the elements of murder are usually present, but there is also an additional unrelated factor which reduces liability. In involuntary manslaughter the defendants conduct is guilty but is not accompanied by malice aforethought. Voluntary Manslaughter in general involves acts involving the death of someone without thinking. It involves "sudden passion".
There's no planned consideration. The requirement is "adequate provocation" and there are three tests. The first one is that the person loses the ability to reflect coolly, the second is that there's no sufficient time to cool off and the third is that the provocation must have caused action. Also to be liable you have to prove that the causation was unbroken between the defendant's actions and the death of the other person. It has to be proven that the death of the person was caused because of the defendant's actions, and that the injuries that have been inflicted amounted to a significant cuase of the death.
Sally committed voluntary manslaughter because both the actus reus and the mens rea were present and because all the elements were present. David use to beat her up and on that particular day she must have had enough and therefore in the heat of the moment she stabbed him in the back. She could use the defence of diminished responsibility under section 2 of the homicide act to help her case because she had been beaten for quite some time. A case that would help her is the case of Ahluwalia (1992) in which the wife had been beaten, raped and subjected to years of violence not forgetting that she had been humiliated by her husband.
One day she poured petrol over him while he was asleep and set him on fire, and therefor died from his burns. Her conviction was reduced from the conviction of murder to the conviction of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. In this case it was indicated that with appropriate medical evidence it would be relevant to consider how a reasonable woman would have reacted who had suffered from battered wife syndrome. The cases frequently concerned homicide, and it will be sufficient to emphasise again that the prosecution must prove causation in fact and
in law, that D's conduct does not have to be the sole cause but must make a significant contribution (amongst other ways of expressing it) and that the focus is frequently on intervening events which may be alleged to have broken the chain of causation. Such events include a refusal of treatment by V, V's especial susceptibility, an attempt by V to escape and negligent medical treatment. It should be noted that the discussion of the victim as "human being" which is supplied below also includes discussion of various aspects of causation. The death must be of a human being
This will rarely cause any difficulty for the prosecution but it means, for instance, that to be a potential victim of homicide a child must be born alive, whether injured before or after birth (preventing a child being born alive is not homicide). In A-G's Reference (No. 3 of 1994) , it was held that D could have been guilty of manslaughter of P's baby, V, but not of its murder. D had wounded P whilst she was pregnant and had caused injuries to V. V was born prematurely, the injuries were successfully treated and V survived for 120 days before dying from the general effects of the premature birth and associated complications.
The House of Lords confirmed that a conviction for manslaughter would be possible because D would 110 L22 (c) ITC i?? 6. 2. 1 Offences Against the Person: Unlawful Homicide have done an unlawful and dangerous act – inflicting injury on the mother – (see below, involuntary manslaughter at 6. 7) with the appropriate MR for that unlawful act, and that had caused the death of the child (the causal connection being the only remaining element required to be proved). The fact that, at the time when D committed his act with MR, V did not exist as a living human being, was irrelevant.
For the foetus, life lay in the future and it could carry the effects of things done before birth which, after birth, might prove harmful. So, on public policy grounds, it was reasonable to regard V, when she became a living person, as within the scope of the MR possessed by D when he stabbed the mother. In medical terms, a comatose person who has suffered brain stem death is dead. Doctors who suspect that a patient has suffered such a fate will carry out certain tests to confirm their suspicions. If they detect no response to those tests they will withdraw life support, and death, in the more traditional sense, will inevitably follow.
If brain stem death is death, then the fact that life support machinery is able to sustain the semblance of life in a person who has suffered brain stem death can be of no significance. In particular, removal of life support by doctors cannot possibly be a cause of V's death. V was already dead before the removal of life support and his death is attributable to whatever caused the brain stem death (say, severe blows to the head inflicted by D).
Of course, much rests on a correct diagnosis being made by the doctors. If the diagnosis was wrong and V was not dead, then the removal of life support will be a cause of the death and could involve the doctors in criminal liability. Whether this would break the chain of causation between the blows struck by D and the death of V is a matter to be determined by application of the rules on causation, particularly those concerned with medical negligence (see 2. 2. 3). When this issue came before the Court of Appeal in Malcherek , D tried to argue that the trial judge had been wrong to withdraw the issue of causation from the jury because there was evidence that V's death had been caused by removal of life support by the doctors.
It was argued that there was evidence that one or more of the tests had been omitted before removal of support. The appeal was rejected but the court did not take the opportunity to rest its decision on an acceptance that brain stem death had occurred before removal of support. Though the court referred to the "body of opinion in the medical profession that there is only one true test of death and that is the irreversible death of the brain stem", it preferred to say that, on any test, death in the conventional sense occurred shortly after the removal of support and that the wound inflicted by D was a "continuing, operating and …
substantial cause" of the death at that time. It was not for a judge or jury to question bona fide and conscientious decisions made by doctors who were acting in accordance with recognised practice, so there could be no break in the chain of causation between D's acts and V's death. However, it appears that not all human beings are entitled to the same degree of protection. The rules of unlawful homicide may apply differently to different categories of human being, in particular to children born with severe physical and/or mental handicap and to comatose victims in a permanent vegetative state.
Similar rules apply to both these categories of human being. Cases such as Re B , Re C , Re J  and Re J  establish the following: (1) A doctor may not engage in positive acts, the only purpose of which is to shorten life, though he may engage in acts which as a side-effect shorten life. For instance, he may not use drugs for the purpose only of terminating life but he may use them to relieve pain and suffering in the knowledge that they will shorten life (derived from cases involving adult victims such as Adams  and applied in the unreported case of Cox ).