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Involuntary Manslaughter Notes

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INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER

Difference from murder/voluntary manslaughter as unintentional,
therefore trying to construct liability out of another crime.
Three types:
o 1) Unlawful Act Manslaughter
 Defendant is prima facie carrying out an unlawful act.
It is dangerous and likely to cause some injury to another person.
o 2) Gross Negligence Manslaughter
 Defendant is prima facie conducting a lawful activity,
but so negligently that it becomes unlawful (e.g.
speeding at 120mph). Punishing wrongdoer for their gross negligence.
o 3) Reckless Manslaughter
 NB hasn't been indicted since 1999
 Defendant consciously thinks about risk of harm, but goes ahead and takes the risk. The victim dies.

UNLAWFUL ACT MANSLAUGHTER
 Aka Constructive Manslaughter
 Four Elements:
o 1) D must do the act intentionally

2) The act must be unlawful

3) The act must be dangerous

4) The act must make cause or make a significant contribution to the death

1) D must do the act intentionally

This is not an intention to kill, rather that the initial unlawful act must be intentional

This must be a positive action not an omission:
 R v Lowe (1973) - Child died after neglect of parents.
Held omission was insufficient for unlawful act manslaughter.
o Cannot be based on negligence:
 Andrews v DPP (1937) - negligent driver hit and killed a pedestrian. Held that unlawful act manslaughter cannot apply to negligenta cts.
2) The act must be unlawful

This must be a crime of some sort. A tort is insufficient (R v
Franklin - swimmer died after being struck by a box thrown from pier;)
o Prosecution must demonstrate both AR and MR of unlawful act.
 R v Lamb (1967) - playing with a gun, didn't believe it would go off. Prosecutors argued UAM on basis of assault. Failed to demonstrate an immediate apprehension of violence therefore failed. NB therefore need to know basic principles of OAPA,
Drugs offences, theft, sexual offences etc for Q on unlawful act?
o R v Newbury (1977) - Defendants had thrown paving slabs from a bridge. They crashed through the train and killed the guard.
 The HoL incorrectly assumed an unlawful action, the unlawful action itself was not articulated. Likely to be criminal damage.
o Can be a strict liability crime:
 R v Andrews (2002) - Defendant and victim went out and drank large amounts of alcohol, defendant injected the victim with insulin as a "pick me up." Held unlawful act was a strict liability crime: constraining the distribution and use of prescription only medicine.
o The defences which apply to the unlawful act also apply to unlawful act manslaughter (R v Scarlett)
o The crime need not be directed at the eventual victim. Could even be directed at objects (criminal damage etc.) Follows principles of transferred malice.
 R v Larkin (1942) - D was trying to scare mistress'
lover. Accidentally killed mistress. Doctrine of transferred malice applied.
 R v Mitchell - D pushed old man in queue at Post
Office. Knocked over old lady who died. UAM applied.
3) The act must be dangerous

The degree of dangerousness:
 R v Church (1966).- D knocked woman unconscious who mocked him for sexual ability. Believing her dead
D threw V in the river drowning her.
 Edmund Davies LJ "the unlawful act must be such as all sober and reasonable people would inevitably recognise must subject the other person to, at least, the risk of some harm resulting therefrom, albeit not serious harm."
o Initially required that D saw that some physical harm might result from the action:
 R v Dawson (1985) - three men robbed petrol shop with fake guns. Cashier had heart condition and died from heart attack. Successfully appealed UAM
conviction.
 Subjective test: on the facts known to the D was the act dangerous. Ds did not know of heart condition therefore did not believe it to be dangerous.
o Now objective, msut that it would have been obvious to a reasonable person that some harm might result:
 R v Watson [1989] - Burglar shouted at 87yo man during burglary. Victim died of heart attack. Held it

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