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Consider Dennis' liability for the deaths of Sarah and Mary.

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Introduction

Consider Dennis' liability for the deaths of Sarah and Mary. In this situation, the prosecution will not be able to bring the case for murder but they can have involuntary manslaughter on Dennis for the act he played which resulted in the deaths. Involuntary manslaughter is the unlawful act of manslaughter, which is also known as constructive manslaughter or gross negligence manslaughter. In this situation, Sarah and Mary died as a consequence of Dennis' act, which was an unlawful act of criminal damage, which will result in the charge of unlawful act manslaughter. This is when the crime hasn't got its own Mens Rea but adopts it from another for example using the Mens Rea of theft and whilst in the process of theft, a person is killed, the accused will be charged with unlawful act manslaughter. ...read more.

Middle

In order to establish factual causation the prosecution must pass the but for test which is would Sarah and Mary have died but for Dennis' actions? Which the answer will be no because if Denis wasn't throwing the stones, Angela wouldn't have swerved off the road and hit Sarah and Mary wouldn't have has a heart attack either. An example of the but for test can be seen in the case of R v White (1910) where the defendant gave his mother poison but before the poison could take effect, the mother died of a heart attack and White was charged with murder because either way, his mother would have died. The jury must also take into consideration, legal causation, this can establish that the original injury was an operative and significant cause of death and an example of this can be found in R v Smith (1959) ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore, Dennis will be charged with unlawful act manslaughter were his Mens Rea will come from the throwing of the stones which is criminal damage. An example of a similar case is R v Church (1965) where the accused and a women went back to his car for sex, the accused couldn't satisfy her so she slapped him and he retaliated and knocked her unconscious. Thinking she was dead, he threw her in the river where in fact, she was still alive but later died due to drowning. In this case, the judge stated that for such a verdict to inexorably to follow, the unlawful act must be such as all sober and reasonable people would recognise risk of some harm may result in from their actions and in Dennis' case, any reasonable or sober person could see the risk so he will be liable for the deaths of Sarah and Mary. ...read more.

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