Involuntary Manslaughter (Gross Negligence Manslaughter (The principles/…
Unlawful Act Manslaughter
Common law offence
Also known as constructive Manslaughter
Charged with UAM when mens rea for Murder cannot be proven
All 4 elements of UAM must be satisfied in order for a conviction to be made.
Made up of 4 elements
The act must be a postive act NOT an omission (Lowe; Khan & Khan)
The Act must be a Criminal offence and not simply unlawful in civil law (Franklin)
The act must be unlawful from the outset and not become unlawful e.g driving (Andrews)
Where the D commits an unlawful act which results in the victims death.
The unlawful act committed it typically an offence agaisnt the person or property crime.
There must be an unlawful act committed (Arobieke)
The Unlawful Act committed must be dangerous
‘Church Test’ objective test formulated for Dangerousness from the case of Church - its based on what the ordinary person would recognise as being dangerous.
The ‘Church Test’ requires that there must be an obvious risk of some harm resulting from the D’s acts to the sober reasonable person.
Test is easily esatbalished as any violent act carries the ‘risk of some harm’ occuring
The sober reasonable person will have the same knowledge as the D (added to by the case of Dawson)
If the D is mistaken the sober reasonable person will not be (Ball)
Test was confirmed in the case of Newbury & Jones
Resulting in death
Established using the ‘But for’ test (White) - this asks the question that ‘but for’ the D’s actions would the consequence of occured.
Legal Causation determines whether in law the D is the cause of the Consequence it involves consideration of a number of factors.
The De Minimis Principle
Where the D is more than a minimal contribution to the V’s death they can be liable. The D’s conduct does not need to be the sole cause or the main cause but it must be more than a minimal contribution. (Cheshire; Pagett)
Acts of the Victim
Acts of the victim can break the chain of causation if they are unexpected, unforeseeable or unpredictable (Roberts)
Acts of a Third Party
May break the chain of causation and prevent D’s liability, this is particulary prominent where the third party is administrating medical treatment however for a medical proffessional to break the chain of causation treatment adminstered must be “palpably wrong” (Jordan)
Act of God
An act of god is a natural or unforeseeable event (new zealand case of Hart)
Thin Skull Rule
The final aspect of causation, the rule is that the D must take his victim as he finds him, so if the victim has any pre-exsisting conditions characteristic which will make the injury worse than the D will still be liable. (Blau)
The Mens Rea for UAM is the same as the Mens Rea for the unlawful act
Gross Negligence Manslaughter
GNM can be committed by an act or an omission
Less common than UAM but still commonly charged
The principles/ elements of GNM were set out in the case of Adomako
Duty to act must be established
Duty to act can be a duty arising under the normal rules of negligence (Caparo v Dickman) or a duty to act under a caterogry regonised by in Criminal law on omissions e.g creation of a dangerous situation (Miller; Wacker; Yaqoob)
Or the case of Gibbons and Procter e.g duty arising from a special relationship (Partent and child relationship)
There must be a breach of that duty
The duty must have been breached, this measured according to the civil standard, he will be in breach if the D’s conduct falls below the required standard of:
the reasonable man.
if the D is a professional, reasonably competent professional with that skill (Holloway; Bolam)
Must be an obvious risk of death
The breach must carry an obvious risk of death - merely serious harm will not suffice (Singh; Mirsa) this is an objective test so there is no need to show that the D appreciated the risk, a question for the Jury to decide.
Breach must cause death
As GNM is a result crime both factual (white) and legal causation (pagett) must be proven, nothing must of intervened which could lead to the chain of causation as this could lead to the D no longer being liable e.g Acts of the victim (Roberts), acts of a third party (Jordan) or act of god (Hart)
The fault element is established by gross negligence, the D’s conduct must move from civil to criminal liability , it must be more than a matter of mere compensation between individuals.
In Bateman it was said that the D must show such a disregard for the life and safety and others that the D’s conduct is deserving of criminal punishment. A high degree of Negligence is required (Adomako; Andrews)
There is no need to prove any Mens rea for GNM (AG’s Ref No.2 of 1999) however if the D was subjectively (Lidar) or objectively reckless (Lichfield) this will help the jury when deciding on the grossness/ criminality of the D’s conduct