Criticism's and Reforms for Murder
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Criticisms and Reforms for Murder Criticisms: Reforms: The lack of a precise legal definition of death - creates uncertainty. Most countries have a legal definition of death which is 'when the brain stem is dead and the victim's brain cannot function spontaneously. Criminal Law Revision Committee rejected defining death in a statute in 1980. The year and a day rule - In order for a defendant to be liable for a homicide offence, the victim had to die within 366 days of the last act done to the victim by the defendant. Criticised because the advances in technology means that victims can be kept alive for longer than 366 days, even though the original injuries remain the actual cause of death The Law reform Act 1966 has therefore abolished this rule.
S and H also argue that virtual certainty test is illogical as a defendant who mistakenly foresees death as a possible consequence is just as morally guilty as the one whose assumption is correct. A concept of conditional intent has been put forward by S and H suggest that a consequence should only be considered to have been intended if it was either the defendant's purpose, or a result which he believed had to take place if that purpose was to be achieved. For example, if you throw a stone at a person sitting in a car your purpose is to hit them with the stone. You might not intend criminal damage but this will be a condition of you achieving your goal. Recklessness - It could be argued that some reckless homicides should be classed as murder as they have so little regard for human life that they are morally equivalent to intentional killings e.g.
The offence should be the same disregarding states of mind but these should be taken into account when sentencing. Mandatory life sentence for murder - At present a person who helps to end the life of a terminally ill relative on compassionate grounds is treated in the same way as a cold-blooded killer. Moloney can be placed anywhere in between. This is inflexible and also goes against the doctrine of judicial independence. Society is supposed to be registering its disapproval of these offences and yet the circumstances of a particular offence could make a huge difference to the way that society viewed it. A House of Lords Select Committee (1989) recommended that the mandatory life sentence for murder should be abolished. If so it would have to be in conjunction with a system of classification or the abolition of the distinction of murder and manslaughter with the courts having discretion over sentencing. ?? ?? ?? ?? Misbah Hanif 13th September 2004 2
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