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Criminal | Offences Against The Person

Involuntary Manslaughter: Unlawful Act

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Involuntary Manslaughter: Unlawful Act

[Flash Card 1 of 3]

  • unlawful killing / D not have intention to kill or cause serious bodily harm
  • constructive manslaughter / discretionary sentence / maximum life

Actus reus:

  • three elements: D must commit unlawful act / act must be dangerous / & cause V's death

Unlawful Act:

  • criminal offence / not civil wrong (Franklin)
  • D & V were playing with gun / as joke D fired killing V / no fear of violence / no assault / not guilty (Lamb)
  • omission not sufficient / D guilty of wilful neglect of baby (criminal offence) / lead to death / CoA quashed conviction as wilful neglect based on omission (Lowe)
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Involuntary Manslaughter: Unlawful Act

[Flash Card 2 of 3]

Dangerous Act:

  • objective test / reasonable person would foreseen harm / not necessarily D / risk needs to be some harm not serious harm (Church)
  • not necessary aimed at V / D brandished knife / threaten another / V intoxicated fell into knife / manslaughter conviction upheld / assault against another / & dangerous act (Larkin)
  • D argued V1 in queue / pushed V1 / V1 fell into V2 who died (Mitchell)
  • act may be aimed at property / council flat fire / 3 Vs (Goodfellow)
  • risk of harm must be physical / emotional disturbance insufficient (Dawson)
  • Ds attempt rob petrol station / V suffered heart attack & died/ V suffered serious heart condition / Ds convictions quashed / objective test: .. can only be undertaken upon the basis of the knowledge gained by a sober and reasonable man as though he were present at the scene of and watched the unlawful act being performed... (Dawson)
  • if reasonable person would be aware V's frailty / & increased risk of physical harm /D liable (Watson)
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Involuntary Manslaughter: Unlawful Act

[Flash Card 3 of 3]

Cause of Death:

  • must be substantial cause of death / general rules of causation apply /needs chain of causation /proved & unbroken D threw firework in bus station / in panic V knocked over & died / substantial cause of death (Corion Auguiste)
  • novus actus interveniens / may break chain
  • D filled syringe with heroin / V injected himself & died / HoL overturned conviction / V voluntarily injecting himself was intervening act (Kennedy)
  • unlawful & dangerous act / not required to be sole cause of death / more than a trivial cause (Shohid)
  • Ds had fight with V / V ran away / died from heart attack / single punch not dangerous act / reasonable person would not have foreseen more than trivial harm (Carey)
  • series of unlawful acts / may be sufficient / even if not proved which caused death (AG's Ref (No 4 of 1980))

Mens rea:

  • D must have required mens rea for unlawful act only (Newbury & Jones)
  • D hit wife / argument outside house / D dragged V inside / accidentally fractured her skull & V died / CoA upheld conviction / original act not direct cause of death / same sequence of events / original punch was intentional / sufficient mens rea (Le Brun)
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