Homicide law in the UK

1. The current jurisprudence of homicide has been criticised widely for being antediluvian, complex and in demand of reform. The Law Commission has reviewed the province of the jurisprudence and proposed a new statutory model which simplifies the jurisprudence of homicide. [ 1 ] One of the biggest unfavorable judgment of the current common jurisprudence is the broad definition ascribed to slay. It is defined as when person unlawfully kills person with the purpose to kill or to make dangerous bodily injury. [ 2 ] The comprehensiveness of the definition can be seen in the undermentioned illustration. A boots B who falls over hitting his caput on the kerb ensuing in decease. The behavior of A under the current definition could represent slaying because the definition includes the work forces rea of purpose to bring down dangerous bodily injury. Clearly A is guilty of a homicide offense nevertheless it is however uneven to happen A guilty of the top grade homicide offense in the same class as consecutive slayers and gunmans.

By included an purpose to make dangerous bodily injury within the range of slaying, the current jurisprudence has been criticised for being skewed and falsifying the sentencing procedure for slaying. [ 3 ] Judges will frequently handle instances affecting dangerous bodily injury as including extenuating fortunes and hence non enforce compulsory sentences. This consequences in a skewing the slaying offense into two grades. The jurisprudence is hence unsatisfactory because of its comprehensiveness. Currently Judgess are being holding to better this job upon condemning. Research into public sentiment besides reveals that the public believes slaying is reserved for when there is an purpose to kill or a entire neglect for human life. [ 4 ] The current jurisprudence does non reflect the general social position and leaves the bench in a quandary when condemning. Reform is hence indispensable.

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The Law Commission ‘s proposals remove the purpose to make dangerous bodily harm regulation from the definition of slaying and present a ladder of homicide offenses which reflect the earnestness of the offense in the sentencing guidelines suggested. The new offenses would be split between first and 2nd grade slaying. First degree slaying is defined as knowing violent death or killing through an purpose to make serious hurt with an consciousness of serious hazard of doing decease. [ 5 ] This offense would reflect the society ‘s position of what constitutes slaying and take the current sentencing troubles that Judgess may confront. The current purpose to make dangerous bodily injury found in slaying would be captured in the new offense of 2nd grade slaying which has a discretional sentence attached. These two offencs would assist better reflect in jurisprudence public sentiment and relieve any condemning troubles faced by Judgess.

2. It has been steadfastly established that in English jurisprudence that there is no defense mechanism of necessity in instances where a physician administers drugs doing decease to salvage a patient from hurting. [ 6 ] However, harmonizing to instance jurisprudence this does non intend that a physician has to cipher the consequence on a patient ‘s lifetime of administrating drugs down to the twenty-four hours or the hebdomad. [ 7 ] The critical factor in such instances is mens rea of the physician. Clearly, if the physician knew that the act of administrating the drugs was merely to kill the patient and non to give hurting alleviation he/she will be guilty of slaying. This differentiation was shown inR v. Cox[ 8 ] where the physician administered K chloride with the exclusive purpose to stop the life of a adult female in terrible hurting. A elusive differentiation revealed in that instance was that if the physician had alternatively administered a high dosage of hurting killing drugs it would be more hard to turn out the purpose was to kill the patient. Therefore it appears that the jurisprudence will digest physicians shortening the lives of patients merely where this is done under the pretense of handling the patient for hurting alleviation and non where it is blatantly intended to stop the life instantly.

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Using this to the present fortunes it is possible that the physician could be found guilty of slaying or manslaughter depending on the purpose which can be shown from the facts. In the event that the physician did admit to meaning to kill the patient there is no defense mechanism in jurisprudence.

3. It is likely that Pip will be charged with slaying. It is clear that he pushed Victor into the river knowing that he could non swim ; but is that adequate to demo causing? There are two trials to find whether a person’s actions caused decease. The first trial asks ‘but for’ the person’s actions would decease hold occurred. [ 9 ] The 2nd trial is used where there was annovus acteus interveniens. It asks whether the individual was the “operating and significant cause” of decease. [ 10 ] In this instance there was no step ining act therefore the ‘but for test’ will be employed and likely conclude that ‘but for’ Pip ‘s actions the decease would non hold occurred. However, this on its ain is non plenty to convict Pip of slaying. It must besides be shown that he possessed the work forces rea to kill or do dangerous bodily injury. [ 11 ] This inquiry will be decided by a jury on hearing farther grounds.

In the event that Pip can demo that he did non mean to kill or do dangerous bodily injury he may be charged with nonvoluntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter is distinguishable from the offenses of slaying and voluntary manslaughter because the suspect lacks the work forces rea required to set up those offenses. For constructive nonvoluntary manslaughter to be proven the offense requires that: the suspect committed an improper act ; that the improper act was a offense ; and the improper act was a significant cause of decease. [ 12 ] Clearly Pip committed an improper act when he pushed Victor into the river.

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The inquiry remains whether Amy ‘s skip to assist Victor as he drowned in the river constitutes an offense. By and of itself, Amy ‘s failure to assist or cite aid is non an offense because there is no general responsibility of attention between private persons to be ‘good samaritans’ recognised in English jurisprudence. Hence, any charge of gross carelessness manslaughter would be hard to turn out because the offense requires a responsibility of attention to be owed by one party to the another, for illustration between and parent and kid. [ 13 ] It is arguable that because Amy is a police officer, albeit off responsibility at the clip, she may owe a responsibility of attention to Victor.

The way of the justice was incorrect in jurisprudence as subdivision 8 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 states that a individual can non be held to hold intended the natural and likely effects of his act merely because they were natural and likely. The common jurisprudence requires that a jury must see all the relevant grounds before they decide whether they are satisfied of holding the necessary purpose. [ 14 ]