Case Analysis : R V. Stone

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R v Stone; R v Dobinson [1977] QB 354 (CA) Court of Appeal; Criminal Division Issues: “Manslaughter - Recklessness or gross negligence - Assumption of duty of care for infirm person - Breach of duty amounting to recklessness - Negligence - Assumption of duty to care.” Introduction: ‘R v Stone; R v Dobinson’ is significant as it addresses the point of ‘duty of care’ and the outcome was described as “highly controversial because of the low capabilities of the two accused” . Appellant Gwendoline Dobinson was treated differently to appellant John Edward Stone due to her gender. Dobinson was expected to care for Fanny due to women being the “primary care-givers in domestic relationships” , proving that “the rule on voluntary undertaking of responsibility potentially remains structurally gendered” . The case was dealt within the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal by Geoffrey lane LJ, Neild and Croom-Johnson JJ. The appeals against conviction were dismissed although the appeal by Stone against his sentence was allowed, altering his sentence. The decision was also influenced namely “whether in a case of manslaughter it is necessary to prove that the defendant was reckless as to whether the victim would suffer death of serious bodily harm” . Facts of the case: Stone, aged 67, was described to be of “low average intelligence, partially deaf and almost blind” . Dobinson, Stone’s mistress, aged 43, was described as “ineffectual and inadequate” . The couple lived with

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