Involuntary Manslaughter (Constructive manslaughter) Identify the issue – Identify the potential charges of constructive manslaughter and manslaughter by gross negligence Relevant Law – Is there an unlawful act? Does it have to be directed to the victim? Who caused the death? Apply the Law – Discuss whether the doctor may be guilty or gross negligence manslaughter Conclude – The chain of causation The defendants liability for the death of the victims will be involuntary manslaughter rather than murder, as there is no evidence that they have the mens rea for murder.In order to prove criminal liability for involuntary manslaughter, the prosecution will have to satisfy that the defendants have committed an act or omission which caused the death. There are three types of manslaughter which is possible that the defendants could committed: manslaughter by unlawful act and dangerous act, manslaughter by gross negligence or subjective reckless manslaughter. Objective reckless manslaughter no longer exists after in the case of Adomako by the House of Lords’s decision.First of all, let’s have a look for the liability of Edgar. The type of manslaughter will depend on the initial act or omission which led to the death of the guard.
Firstly, it requires an unlawful act (Franklin) and all the elements of it must be presented otherwise the defendant cannot be convicted for constructive manslaughter (Lamb). The unlawful act must be a crime and not a tort. By throwing bricks over the railway bridge it is an unlawful act similar case DPP v. Newbury & Jones where two fifteen years old boys pushed paving stone over rail bridge wall and also killed the guard. In this scenario it is almost impossible that this act could be happen by indirectly therefore the only option left is direct causation. The result of this that the guard was killed/died. Furthermore, Edgar may try to argue that it is not necessary that the unlawful act is directed at the victim. In the case of Darby, the court of appeal appeared to introduce a third condition into constructive manslaughter.
The act must be directed to the victim. However now seems clear, following Goodfellow that this is unnecessary. Given that Edgar’s unlawful act did not have to be directed at the eventual victim. The following requirement is the unlawful act must be dangerous. In the church case Edmund Davies LJ set out that an act is dangerous if a sober and reasonable person would foresee the risk of some harm. Following Dawson: sober and reasonable people to be assumed to have same knowledge as the defendant but no more.
Edgard could argue that because his age he did not know his action was dangerous, but this contention will not succeed as the House of Lords in Newbury and Jones comfirmed that a question of fact for the jury the prosecution does not have to prove that the accused recognised the risk of some danger. The next consideration is whether Edgard’s action have caused the guard’s death. The guard would not have died if Edgard had not thrown bricks to the railway bridge – this satisfies the requirement of factual causation (White). Edgard likely to want to argue that it was a duress…
Therefore, he is unlikely to be liable for the death of the guard. Gus could be liable for casuing the death in terms of a manslaughter offence. The relevant types of manslaughter would be unlawful and dangerous act manslaughter however he did not have to intention to kill him therefore he does not committed murder. Again, the first thing that the prosecution has to prove is the cannabis supply was an unlawful act and not a civil wrong (Fenton). Also, it has to be an act not an omission. In the case of Lowe the court of appeal quashed the conviction of constrictive manslaughter because there must be an unlawful act and the offence cannot be made by omission. The following elements which has to be proven is that unlawful act was dangerous but dangerous is not given its ordinary meaning. The test for dangerous act is an objective one.
Edmund Davies LJ set out the test ” The unlawful act must such as all sober and reasonable people would inevitably recognise must subject the other person to, at least the risk of some harm resulting there from , albeit no serious harm. Which means that there is a requirement that a “reasonable person” would have foreseen the harm, not necessarily the defendant and the risk only need to be “some harm” not serious -the Church test confirmed by Ball. The action of supplying drug was objectively dangerous in that it was obvious to a reasonable sober individual that some harm (from weed) could result (Dawson).
It would appear therefore that Gus may be liable for constructive manslaughter. Gross Negligence Identify the Issue – Liability for gross negligence manslaughter and manslaughter by an unlawful dangerous act – Causation (Pagett/ Kennedy) Relevant Law – The criteria in Adomako to be discussed and outlined – The decision in Kennedy – Causation and if there is novus actus interveniens Apply the Law – Whether there is a duty of care – Whether the defendant caused the death in fact and in law. – Whether there is a liability for gross negligence manslaughter Conclude – Liability for gross negligence manslaughter and manslaughter by an unlawful and dangerous act on the facts above.
In relation to Fred, his mother may have committed manslaughter by gross negligence. The first thing to be satisfied whether she owes a duty of care to Fred. If she does, the court will need to be satisfied that this duty has been breached, that a risk of death was reasonably foreseeable, that death was caused by the defendant and the negligence was gross. (capable of amounting to criminal act or omission). Whether a defendant owes the victim a duty of care is dictated by the principles governing duty of care in tort. (Donoghue v.
Stevenson). In the limited category