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R v Ahluwalia

[1992] 4 All ER 889

Case summary last updated at 11/01/2020 15:55 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case R v Ahluwalia

A woman after years of abuse by her husband, and particularly on that night, threw petrol into her husband’s room and set it alight, killing him after a delay of 2 and a half hours (before which he had told her to leave as his girlfriend was moving in and threatened to beat her and scald her if she failed to pay him £200). The judge directed the jury to ask if a reasonable person would have been led to this action by provocation, provocation being an action which causes a “sudden and temporary” loss of control (definition established in Duffy). Jury convicted of murder. Appeal on the grounds that “sudden and temporary” contradicted s.3 Homicide Act 1957 was dismissed. However, fresh evidence was exceptionally admitted, showing her to be suffering from a depressive disorder, and hence a retrial was ordered on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The judge concedes that a delay of time does not necessarily mean a “cooling off” will occur, as opposed to a “slow burn”. However the longer the delay, the more likely the prosecution is to rebut the claim of provocation (He is COMPLETELY contradicting himself). The sudden and temporary definition may “operate harshly” but it is for parliament, not the court, to change the law. 

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