The Law Reform

Both Jonathan and Lucy, could be charged are either murder or manslaughter. Both of these are two different types of Homicide. The classic definition of murder is that of Sir Edward Coke1: "Murder is when a man, unlawfully kill within any country of the realm any reasonable human being under the Queen's peace, with malice aforethought. " There was some misunderstanding because of the 'a year and a day' rule which meant that the death followed the unlawful act or omission within a year and a day, but this has been abolished by the Law Reform (Year and a Day Rule) Act 1996.

Later it was clarified in R v. Moloney2, where House of Lords stated:'… that an intention to kill or cause serious bodily harm would be sufficient to amount to malice aforethought. ' Their Lordships in Moloney3, also said that the intention should be used as a common word and the jury are the one who should decide if there is any intention, without any trial judge giving any guidelines, etc. This meant that if the accused is found to have intended either to kill or to cause serious bodily harm (GBH), which resulted in the death of the victim, and then he/she will be charged with murder, except if he/she has a special defence of either of the two different types of manslaughter.

The manslaughter is divided into two different types: 1. Voluntary Manslaughter – is about some special (partial) defences4 available to the defendant to prove that what s/he did was under some circumstances where they shouldn't be charged with murder. If prove successful then the defendant charged with manslaughter not murder. The only difference is that if charged with murder the accused gets a mandatory life sentence, and if charged with manslaughter, the accused will not be given the mandatory life sentence, but is then left up to the trial judge's discretion to decide a sentence for this acts done.

2. Involuntary Manslaughter – is where the accused has done unlawful killing but there is no malice aforethought or the necessary mens rea present. The involuntary manslaughter then must be argued by the prosecution that the accused either caused the victim's death or intended something which was dangerous and unlawful, known as constructive manslaughter, or was gross negligent or reckless as the risk of death of the victim was likely to occur because of the accused actions, in the R. v.

Adomoka5, where their Lordships agreeing with the Court of Appeal on the requirements of proving involuntary manslaughter, which were: (1) proof of the existence of the duty; (2) breach of that duty causing death; and (3) gross negligence which the jury considered justified a criminal conviction. 1. Sir Edward Coke (Institutes of the Laws of England, 1797) 2. [1985] 1 All ER 1025 3. [1985] 1 All ER 1025 4. The partial defences of provocation (s3), diminished responsibility (s2) and suicide pact (s4) of Homicide Act 1957 5.

All ER 79 In JONATHAN'S case, he would be guilty of voluntary manslaughter, but it is not always right to just jump to conclusion as the criminal law opens many ways for the judgement of the trial judges and jury to go for or against the accused. Firstly, the Jonathan could be charged with murder because he had the required actus reus of killing his wife and mens rea. The killing of Mina was unlawful as she was no danger to him. Jonathan killed Mina under certain circumstances can rely on the partial defence of provocation6.

The defence of provocation, if success can lead to acquittal from the charge of murder, which is, substituted with a conviction of manslaughter. The defence/defendant has to prove the burden of proof, where by it is then left for judge's discretion to decide on the appropriate sentence for the defendant. There must be something said or done which provoked the defendant to do what he did. This leads to two important test of provocation, which must be applied successfully by the defendant: 1. Objective Test – whereby the accused must have lost self-control, which was a sudden and temporary loss.

2. Subjective Test – where by what the defendant did, any reasonable person would have done the same if he were provoked. Jonathan, who was 'raged' by the stress at the work and gets a call about his wife affair and the funds, could be said to have lost self-control over himself. The loss of self-control is required to be 'sudden and temporary loss 7', whereby the defendant actions to which aroused from him being provoked were within a given time before it was consider to be too late for the actions which have been done were as the result of the provocation.

It is then left to jury to decide whether the time lapse between when Jonathan was first provoked and he smashed that lamp in Mina's face, was sufficient enough to show that what he did was in that raged temper or loss of self-control. As per R. v. Ibrams and Gregory 8, the reaction to the provocation has to be short enough to make sure that the jury will decide that what the defendant did was because of the provocation which resulted in him losing self-control. The homophobic Jonathan, when saw Mina and Lucy together in he bed, was further provoked to do something which he did, in fact.

The jury had to decide whether Jonathan's homophobic characteristic was sufficient enough to affect his anger to another stage, other than age and sex. While Jonathan also suffers from parsimonious characteristics, which is that after learning that Mina uses of the funds, which were saved by both of them for their son, could be another characteristics for fuelling his anger further more. As both of these special characteristics of Jonathan contributed to his anger, can be said to be not of just temporary time.

Being a homophobic or parsimonious, which are both long-term characteristics within a special characteristic which should have been taken into account as affecting the gravity of the provocation, R v Morhall 9, where the Lord Goff, stated that the jury should take into account all "those factors" or "the entire factual situation" which would affect the gravity of the provocation as decided in DPP v Camplin10. whether any reasonable person would do the same the accused did in this situation, when provoked, R. v. Smith11 where the R. v. Camplin was approved, the accused personality qualities does play a major part in provocation.