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Criminal law - Essay Example

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Your Name Subject/Course Date Criminal Law Homicide is defined as an act of killing a human being by another. Murder and manslaughter are two offenses that comprise homicide. Murder occurs when a person who commits the crime is of sound mind, alive and has an intent to kill…
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Criminal law

Download file to see previous pages... There can be two types of manslaughter, voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person kills with a malice aforethought or intention (mens rea). Involuntary manslaughter occurs when death occurs because of negligence or because of another illegal, dangerous act. To clarify, Actus Reus is the criminal act. It often goes with mens rea. There are two types of involuntary manslaughter. These are Constructive Manslaughter and Gross Negligence Manslaughter. Constructive manslaughter or Unlawful Act Manslaughter usually occurs when death results from the defendant’s unlawful act. To understand the concept of involuntary manslaughter, we could put the situation of David and Nick for consideration. David and Nick could be charged with Constructive Manslaughter. The prosecution, if the duo should be charged with Constructive Manslaughter, needs to establish the legal elements in the case. The actus reus was homicide, specifically manslaughter. The death occured because of David and Nick’s unlawful act of damaging the tyres of the car Gordon drove. The mens rea for this situation would be the mere idea that they should puncture the tyres of the politician because they are unhappy with the way the politician runs the government. The mere thought that they should inflict an illegal act upon someone’s belongings, whether the intention is to kill or not, is sufficient enough to charge someone of manslaughter, because they intended to inflict harm on someone. Because the death only resulted from an act they performed indirectly on the politician, it can’t be murder. Since the killing is the result of the David and Nick’s unlawful act of slashing the tires, and they were reasonable enough (not insane) to rationalize that they needed to slash Gordon’s tyres because on the grounds that the politician was causing their problems, the act is Constructive Manslaughter. The act cannot be considered murder as they slashed the tyres without meaning to kill the person, even if it meant the death of the driver of the car. The mens rea is quite clear and they indeed meant harm to the politician, although not necessarily his death. The death happened because of the injuries sustained from the head injuries that were incurred during the accident, which is not a direct harm but merely a consequence caused by the defendants’ actions. This phenomenon is called the Natural Consequences of the Defendant’s Act, like the R v Pagett Case in 1983 where the defendant tried to use a little girl as human shield when he was being arrested by the police. The girl died because she took the bullet. This case is similar to David and Nick’s case because Gordon died because David and Nick put him in danger because of their behavior. David and Nick could also be charged with Gross Negligence Manslaughter. This happens when the death is because of negligence or omission on the part of the defendant. According to the judge in R v Bateman (1925) 19 Cr App R 8, the negligence of the accused showed disregard for the life and safety of others as to amount to a crime. To describe the grossness of the negligence in a case, the Adomako (from R v Adomako (1994) 3 All ER 79 ) test: a) the existence of a duty of care to the deceased; b) a breach of that duty of care which; c) causes (or significantly contributes) to the death of the victim; and d) the breach should be characterised as gross negligence, and therefore a crime. Since ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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