?I am assessing Jimmy’s liability for the death of Bruce. This question is set out under the field of Homicide, as there has been an unlawful killing. The likely charge against Jimmy is Murder. Murder is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being with the intention to kill or cause GBH. (Moloney) for the first part of the question I will present the prosecution case and for the second part I will present the defence and lastly I will conclude.
The actus Reus of murder is the unlawful killing of a human being under the Queens peace (Moloney) the prosecution must prove beyond all reasonable doubt, that Jimmy caused Bruce’s death. (Deller) Two tests must be applied to determine whether Jimmy was the legal and factual cause of Bruce’s death (White). The Factual causation test asks whether “but for Jimmy Stabbing Bruce Several times in the chest, Bruce would not have died. ” The answer to this is no, Bruce would not have died but for Jimmy carrying out his actions; thus factual causation is satisfied.
The legal Causation test asks whether Jimmy’s actions of stabbing Bruce several times in the chest was the substantial and operating cause of Bruce’s death. The answer to this question is also yes, thus legal causation is satisfied. The Men’s rea for murder is an Intention to kill or cause GBH. (Moloney) there are two types of intention, direct intention in which it is the defendant’s direct aim and purpose or desire to bring about the prohibited consequence.
And indirect intention which considers whether the result was a virtual certainty consequence of the defendant’s actions and D realised this (Moloney, Nedrick, Woolin). The fact that Jimmy stabbed Bruce several times in the chest which can be seen as a fatal area, indicates that he had an intention to at least cause GBH, if not Kill. This then is an example of direct intention as it was jimmy’s aim and purpose to kill or at least cause GBH. Therefore we can see that the elements of Men’s Rea are satisfied.
There are two issues that could be Novus actus interveniens which may break the chain of causation in this case. The first being Luke delayed calling an ambulance and dragged Bruce’s body into his car, this caused a lot of blood loss and on top of this Luke got lost on the way to the hospital. However as aid by a third party, in good faith, will not break the chain of causation ( Malcherek).
The second being the fact that Bruce was a haemophiliac which caused him to have excessive bleeding more than the normal person, however we need to consider the Thin skull rule, in which the defendant has to take the victim as they find them, even if they may have a thinner skull than the normal person (Blaue) Therefore the chain of causation is not broken in Jimmy’s case. If Jimmy was charged with murder two partial defences would be available to him: LSC and Diminished responsibility. If the defence raised by jimmy was successful it would reduce his conviction to voluntary manslaughter, which does not carry a mandatory life sentence. Firstly to consider LSC, this is governed by s. 54 and s. 55 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.
In order to establish this defence it must be shown that Jimmy lost self- control, in application to jimmy we can see that by retrieving a pen knife from his pocket and stabbing Bruce several times in the chest that he lost self -control, the second element being that Jimmy’s LSC had a qualifying trigger of either anger or fear, we can see that Jimmy’s self -control was not triggered by fear but by anger, his anger was triggered by words said/done which were “Lets beat up peg-leg” it is arguable that these things constituted circumstances of an extremely grave nature and Jimmy had a justifiable sense of being seriously wronged.
Thus jimmy may be able to argue a legitimate anger trigger. However that said the law commission stated the level of seriousness required to trigger the anger trigger would be analogous to a parent seeing the abuse of their child, the case of Zebedee confirmed this therefore, the words said may struggle to satisfy this high threshold.
it is arguable that jimmy’s actions were similar to how a man of his age (Camplin) who has a normal degree of self-tolerance and self-restraint, would have acted in his circumstances, but given the gravity of his response (Stabbing Bruce in the chest several times) it is possible that this test would not be fulfilled. The second defence being diminished responsibility which is governed by s. 2 of the homicide Act 1957 as amended by the coroners and justice act 2009.
In order to establish this defence t must be shown that Jimmy had an abnormality of mental functioning (Byrne) that came from a recognised medical condition(Ahluwalia)which caused a substantial impairment (Lloyd) to understand the nature of his own conduct, exercise self-control and form a rational judgement and provides an explanation for his conduct. Diminished responsibility is heavily reliant upon medical evidence, however from the facts of the case, it can be seen that a medical condition is not present, outbursts of violent temper would not satisfy this as it is important to note, not all medical conditions are suitable for use in DR (Dowd’s).
To conclude, Jimmy may be potentially liable for murder as current legal principles indicate that he had the required MR and AR and there was no break in the chain of causation, that said the defence of LSC may arise and if successful would reduce jimmy’s conviction to one of voluntary manslaughter and Jimmy would not be subject to a mandatory life sentence.