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Vincent stabs Kay, she survives long enough to give birth to the infant, but dies a few weeks later. The baby survives for 140 days, and then also dies.a) Explain the offence with which Vincent may be charged in respect of the death of Kay

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Introduction

Paper 2, November 1998, Question 6 Trina Soon Vincent and Kay live together. Kay becomes pregnant by another man, and Vincent cannot come to terms with this. The relationship becomes more and more strained until eventually, when Kay is 28 weeks pregnant, they have a violent argument and Vincent stabs Kay in the abdomen. She survives long enough to give birth to the infant, but dies a few weeks later. The baby survives for 140 days, and then also dies. a) Explain the offence with which Vincent may be charged in respect of the death of Kay (15) b) Explain the offence with which Vincent may be charged in respect of the death of the baby. (10) a. In relation to the death of Kay, there is the possibility that Vincent would be charged under homicide. Vincent has the pertinent actus reus of homicide, whereby he has committed an unlawful killing in the Queen's peace in the county of the realm and death occurs within 1 year and 1 day. ...read more.

Middle

It was held that intent couldn't be inferred unless the defendant appreciated that the consequence was a virtual certainty. As such, Vincent knew the consequences of his actions, and still had an intention to harm. Thus, he has the apt actus reus and mens rea, and can be charged for homicide. However, Vincent's charge for murder may be reduced to voluntary manslaughter, if he can prove any of the mitigating factors, namely diminished responsibility and provocation. According to Section 2 of the Homicide Act 1957, diminished responsibility is defined as an abnormal state of mind (at the time of murder) that does not constitute insanity. In R v. Byrne, it was held that diminished responsibility may be caused by disease, injury, mental sub normality, and covers conditions like depression, irresistible impulse and other inherent factors. The law on provocation is under Section 3 Homicide Act 1957. For the defense of provocation to succeed, there must have been some act(s) or word(s) of provocation, so that the defendant loses control. ...read more.

Conclusion

By stabbing Kay in the abdomen would unquestionably cause harm to both her and the baby. In R v. Woollin, the defendant killed his child by throwing him onto a hard surface, and it was held that intention can be found when the defendant foresaw the consequence as a virtually certain result of conduct. As such, Vincent's intention to harm is evident. However, it is not known if Vincent's rage was directed at Kay or at the baby. If it was directed at Kay, transferred malice is applicable here, as the actus reus is of the same type. Vincent's act and intention to harm Kay, is the same as the act to harm the baby, contrary to R v. Pembilton where the act is not the same. In R v. Latimer, the defendant used a belt to strike a man, but injured a woman next to him. It was held that if the defendant had the mens rea of a crime and causes the actus reus of that crime against another person, the original mens rea is transferred to the actual actus reus. As such, any intention Vincent had to harm Kay, can be transferred to the baby. 2 ...read more.

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