Gross Negligence Manslaughter (Breach of Duty (What was D expected to do?,…
Gross Negligence Manslaughter
V dies as a result of D's negligence, the degree of which is sufficiently serious to make him criminally liable for the death.
GNM came from Bateman where the Dr's negligence in his patient's death and Ds "gross negligence" was the basis for criminal liability.
It can be committed by a positive act or an omission (does not have to be illegal)
The leading case is
- D an anaesthetist, failed to notice a disconnected tube supplying oxygen to V who later died. His failure to react quickly was described as abysmal D was guilty of gross negligence manslaughter.
confirmed the following must be proven for gross negligence manslaughter:
1. Duty of care
2. Breach of duty which caused death
3. Gross Negligence that the jury consider criminal
Duty of Care
confirmed the principles from negligence in civil law apply here
D must satisfy the neighbour principle from
Donoghue v Stevenson
D owes a duty of care to anyone closely and directly affected by his act or omission
Breach of Duty
What was D expected to do?
Did he fail to do it or do it to a poor standard?
D is judged against the standard of the reasonable competent man doing the same activity as him
If D is a trainee/learner this is not taken into account
but for D's breach of duty, V would not have died
D's breach of duty contributed to Vs death in a more than minimal way
Ds negligence must be 'gross'
E.g.s of the jury deciding what amount to gross:
a boy scout fell to his death on a trip to Snowdon. Despite the scout leader not following several safety procedures, it was held he did not show such disregard that it amounted to gross negligence
parents allowed their 7 year old daughter and a friend to play on a railway bridge, promising to warn them if a train came. The children were killed by a train the parents had not seen. As they had ignored an obvious and serious danger it amounted to gross negligence
Risk of Death
Ds conduct must involve a risk of death and not just a risk of injury
(Misra & Srivistava)