Voluntary Manslaughter Getting away with Murder…What you need to know!
Voluntary Manslaughter • There are two types of manslaughter: • Voluntary Manslaughter • Involuntary Manslaughter • Voluntary Manslaughter- D would be guilty of murder but has successfully raised a defence (Involuntary Manslaughter- lacks the necessary mens rea for murder (no maliceaforthought) but can be can be convicted of constructive or gross negligence manslaughter
Question 1. What defences can reduce a charger of murder to manslaughter? Diminished responsibility, Suicide Pact or Provocation. 2. What is the required mens rea for murder? Malicaforethought (planning) 3. What is voluntary manslaughter? D has committed murder but successfully raised a defence. 4. What is involuntary manslaughter? D has caused the death of V but lack the necessary mens rea. Gross negligence or constructive manslaughter.
A jury hearing the case of a man accused of murdering his daughter has heard the contents of sexual emails between his wife and her lover. Hospital radiographer Gavin Hall, 33, killed three-year-old Amelia as her mother and sister slept in their Northamptonshire home. • Mr Hall, of Irchester, denies murder but admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. DAUGHTER KILLED MUM IN A FRENZIED KNIFE ATTACK Stabbing was in revenge for child being taken into care A woman who admitted stabbing her mother to death in a frenzied attack in revenge for her child being taken into care has been sentenced to an indefinite hospital order.Schizophrenic Nicola Edgington, 26, killed churchgoer mum Marion during what was supposed to be a happy family gathering at the 60-year-old's home in Forest Row.Mrs Edgington had chillingly predicted her "wayward" daughter may try to harm her because of the grievance.The "much-loved" mother-of-three had lived in fear of her own child and had cut her out of her will because she was so worried about her mental state.Nicola Edgington admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at Lewes Crown Court this week and was sentenced under the Mental Health Act.The court heard she had an "attachment" to a cousin who had also stabbed someone to death.
Partial Defences • There are special defences available to people who commit murder if they can show one of the following: • Diminished responsibility • Provocation or • Suicide Pact All the above defences set out in Homicide Act 1957.
What do Partial defences mean? • Defendant is not completely acquitted. • Instead the charge of murder is reduced to manslaughter. • This gives Judges flexibility to decide what sort of sentence to impose. • E.g. If D is not dangerous, he or she may only be given a short sentence. • What happened in Byrne (1960)?
So what is Diminished Responsibility? • Copy out Section 2 (1) of the Homicide Act • Your Client Farra Nuts has come to you because she has killed Saman Sam in a moment of road rage, she was a passenger in a car driven by Ibraa Raa. • What does Farra Nuts need to prove to plead diminished responsibility?
Byrne (1960) D strangled to death and then mutilated a young woman, confessing to both in full. D raised the defence of diminished responsibility. Since childhood he had suffered from perverted sexual desires that created irresistible impulses. His acts were driven by one of these impulses on the day in question. He was originally convicted of murder. But CA overturned this, despite him being able to tell the difference between right and wrong etc… He clearly had an irresistible impulse where he could not control his sick desires and therefore he had abnormality of mind. Held: Diminished responsibility covers all the activities of the mind. Abnormality of the mind does not have to be connected with madness. Medical experts described D’s condition as amounting to partial insanity!
Seers (1984) • D stabbed his estranged wife and claimed diminished responsibility on grounds of chronic reactive depression. The trial judge directed that for the defence to be successful Seers had to be bordering on the insane. CA Held: The judge’s direction was wrong! The required abnormality of mind can cover severe shock or depression especially in cases of mercy killings and pre-menstrual syndrome. • The test of borderline or partial insanity had been appropriate in the case of R v Byrne.Guilty of manslaughter
What is Substantial? The abnormality of mind must be substantial But what is substantial? In Byrne the court said whether the impairment was substantial was for the jury to decide However in Lloyd 1967 substantial does not mean total nor does it mean trivial or minimal. It is something in between and is for the jury to decide. However as impairment of the mind is a qu of fact the judge can withdraw this point from the jury if there is no evidence on which a reasonable jury could conclude that the D mental responsibility was impaired.
OK I’M LOADED ON BOOZE AND DRUGS CAN I PLEAD DIMINISHED RESPONSIBILITY?
Diminished Responsibility and Intoxication • In DiDuca (1959) • Key Word: Transient: lasting only a short time. • In this case CA held that that the instant effects of drugs and alcohol did not amount to an injury, even if it did affect the brain. • Therefore a transient state of intoxication does not become an ABNORMALITY OF MIND.
BUT… • If the brain has been injured through alcoholism then you can support a finding for diminished responsibility. • Tandy (1989) Good thing… I am an alcoholic and not a drunk!
D, an alcoholic, had drunk nearly a bottle of vodka when she strangled her 11 yr old daughter. (She normally drank Vermouth or Barley wine),Held: In order for a craving for drink to produce an ‘abnormality of mind’ caused by alcoholism, there had to be: • 1. grossly impaired judgement and emotional responses. • 2. or the craving had to be such as to make the first drink of alcohol of the day involuntary. • But, if the accused had simply not resisted an impulse to drink she could not rely on the defence of diminished responsibility • and if D took the first drink of the day voluntarily, the whole of the drinking on that day was voluntary, and diminished responsibility was not available to her.
Watkins LJ: • 'If the alcoholism has reached the level at which her brain had been injured by the repeated insult from intoxicants so that there was gross impairment of her judgment and emotional responses, then the defence of diminished responsibility was available to her ... if her drinking was involuntary, then her abnormality of the mind at the time of the act of strangulation was induced by her condition of alcoholism.' • Guilty of murder.
Talking Point • Do you think the decision in Tandy (1989) and Inseal (1992) is fair? • Give reasons.
Infanticide • Where a mother kills her recently born child • Child U12m • Mother does not have a younger child • And if balance of her mind was disturbed by reason of her not having fully recovered from the effect of giving birth to the child or by reasons of effects of lacerations consequential upon the birth
MENTAL DISORDER + INTOXICATION • What happens if a persons already has some abnormality of mind and is also intoxicated? Gittens (1984) D was suffering from depression. During a visit home from hospital he argued with his wife and beat her to death and then raped and killed his stepdaughter. At the time of the offence he had been drinking and taking drugs for depression. Held: D can benefit from DR if the inherent causes like depression would have caused him kill whether or not he took drugs or drank alcohol.Guilty of manslaughter not murder
Dietschmann HL (2003) • Key Idea: Dietschmann was not ’new law’ but simply explained what the law had always been… • In this case D killed a man in a savage attack whilst he was very drunk. He was also suffering from a mental abnormality, called an adjustment disorder which was a depressed grief reaction following the death of his aunt, Sarah, with whom he had had a close emotional and physical relationship.
Dietschmann HL (2003) • D charged with murder. • Case went to CA but appeal was dismissed. • Case went to HL to clarify the Law. • HL held that it was clear that abnormality of mind substantially impaired his mental responsibility. • HELD: Jury must ignore the alcohol and just consider the effect of mental abnormality at the time of killing and consider whether it was sufficient to substantially impair his responsibility.
Do we need to reform Diminished Responsibility? 1. Problems with the defence: • Burden of Proof • Wording of Relevant Statutes 2. Proposals for Reform
Exam Question 2. Evaluate the effectiveness of diminished responsibility as a defence. [50 marks]
Suicide Pact • S 4(3) of the Homicide Act 1957 defines suicide pact as a common agreement between two or more people having for it’s object the death of all of them. • S 4(1) of the Homicide Act 1957 provides a defence to murder for the survivor of a suicide pact. • Burden of proof there was suicide pact is on the Defence • Standard of proof on balance of probabilities
Provocation • S3 of the Homicide Act 1957 sets out the defence of Provocation • Copy out s3 of the Homicde Act 1957 pg 84 • Subjective Test-Did D loose his self control? • Objective Test-would a reasonable man have lost his self control?
Provocation Can be: • Physical assaults on D or relatives-Pearson 1992 • Homosexual advances • Continual Crying of a 19 day old baby-Doughty 1986 • A denial of stealing the D tools-Smith 2000 • Supplying drugs to D son-Baillie 1995 • Wife having an affair -Davies 1975 • V does not have to deliberately aim the provocation at the D
Loss of Self Control • Jury have to be satisfied that the D has lost his self control as a result of provocation. • The test is a sudden and temporary loss of self control. Duffy also upheld in many cases since. • Time lapse-the longer the gap between the provocation and the killing the less likely the defence will succeed- Ibrams and Gregory 1981 • 5 days since last provocation deemed too long for sudden loss of self control. • However can be a gap -Baillie 1995 threat to children went got gun drove to house then shot V • Can be small matter which is last straw- Thornton 2 • Does not have to be immediate
Reasonable Man Test • Would reasonable man have acted the way the D did. • Reasonable man • Was what would be expected of ordinary person- Duffy • Now takes into account characteristics of D- Camplin • Gravity of provocation- will be dependent on characteristics of D • Self Control- expected to exercise reasonable self control- reasonable to D with his characteristics
Reform • Currently reconsidering reform of Partial defences. • Minded to amend provocation to be allowed where :- • D acted in response to gross provocation or fear of serious violence • A person of defendants age and ordinary temperament (subjective test not reasonable man)
Questions • Look at the scenarios on pg 91 of Jacqueline Martin book • Give reasons for your answers.
Exam Question • 3 Victoria is the wife and assistant of a knife-throwing expert, Carl, who both work for a circus. Carl is renowned for his hot temper and has recently been off work suffering from depression. Their act consists of Victoria being strapped to a board whilst Carl throws twenty knives all around her from a distance of five metres to within as little as fifteen centimetres of her body. They have been doing this for many years without a single mistake and Carl regards his technique as perfect. One evening, just before their act begins, Victoria tells Carl that she is having an affair with the lion tamer, Wayne. Carl is shocked and enraged but, at that moment, the fanfare strikes up for the start of their act and Carl and Victoria enter the ring to start their performance. The third knife Carl throws goes straight into Victoria’s heart, killing her instantly. Discuss Carl’s liability for Victoria’s death.