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Homicide Act 1957

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Introduction

Q- Using Cases to illustrate your points critically, decribe the Homocide Act 1957 and include the subsequent judicial interpretations of it. The law surrounding homicide carries a wide scope of controversial issues; this can include the topics of Murder, Manslaughter, Infanticide and Vehicular homicide The definition of murder is derived from the writing of the jurist Sir Edward Coke: "Murder is where a person of sound memory and of the age of discretion unlawfully killeth...any reasonable creature in rerum natura under the king's peace, with malice aforethought, either expressed by party or implied by law, so as the party wounded or hurt etc., die of the wound or hurt etc." For any crime the basic requirements for an offence to be successful are an 'Actus Reus', 'Mens Rea' and an absence of a valid defence. The actus reus of murder is the unlawful killing of another person in the Queen's peace. The definition still stands today and until recently the definition included the "year and a day" rule but this has now been abolished. It is up to the prosecution to prove the defendant (D) caused the V's death, that there was a causal link starting from the D's act leading to the V's harm. In cases where a V is stabbed or shot and dies immediately from the wound it is obvious that D caused V's death. it must be proved in each case that the defendant's actions were the cause of the victim's death. ...read more.

Middle

and It was also discussed in Ahluwalia that although it is necessary to show that the D suffered a loss of self-control because of provocation, a break in the time period between the provocation and death does not remove the availability of the defence. The sudden and temporary loss of self-control will only become harder to prove. In provocation cases it must also be asked whether a "reasonable man" would have lost control and acted as D did. The case of DPP v Camplin allowed juries to take account of D's characteristics. Lord Diplock set out 2 separate distinct issues, the gravity of the provocation and the power of self-control. These may be psychological as well as physical characteristics (R v. Dryden). However the case of R v. Smith (Morgan) stated that it was no longer necessary to refer to the "reasonable man" but instead ask what could "reasonably be expected" of the D and therefore the Camplin distinctions were abolished. The case of A-G for Jersey v Holley restored the Camplin distinctions as it overruled Smith (Morgan) and followed Luc Thiet Thuan. Diminished responsibility is defined in S.2 (1) of the Homicide Act 1957 as being a defence to murder and the D will not be convicted of murder but of a lesser offence, if he is seen as suffering from an abnormality of the mind arising from an arrested or retarded development of the mind or an inherent cause or an injury or disease which substantially impaired the defendant's responsibility for his acts and omissions in doing or being a party to the killing. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lowe that an omission cannot constitute an unlawful act and a D cannot be charged with manslaughter even if the omission is deliberate. Gross negligence manslaughter was defined in the case of R v. Adamako as needing certain elements to be successful, the existence of a duty of care, breach of that duty of care causing death and gross negligence that the jury consider justifies criminal conviction. Lord Mackay in this case stated that the "ordinary principles of law of negligence apply to ascertain whether or not D has been in breach of a duty of care towards the V" To establish to whom a duty is owed, the principles laid out, in Donoghue v. Stevenson, Lord Aitkin in the House of Lords said that you must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour, i.e. persons so closely and directly affected by D's act, that D ought to have them in contemplation as being affected when D directs their mind to these acts or omissions. It must be established at what point that D breaches the duty in the case of R v. Bateman, Lord Hewart CJ explained the gross negligence test however Lord Mackay in Adamako stated that the test for the jury to consider was whether the extent to which D's conduct departed from the proper standard of care incumbent on him was such that it should be judged criminal. The case of R v. Misra challenged the decision in Adamako the Court of Appeal rejected the claims and stated that Adamako still stands. ?? ?? ?? ?? Faaiz Mahmood 1 ...read more.

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3 star(s)

A poor essay, which fails to consider the question set. Students should respond appropriately where criticism is required.

The material with respect to provocation is outdated but on the whole, the content is accurate.

3 Stars

Marked by teacher Edward Smith 26/07/2013

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