Essay on Defences for Murder

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Defences for Murder

There are only three partial defences for murder; suicide pact, provocation-the loss of self control and reaction must be instantaneous and diminished responsibility. Amongst the three mentioned two are most frequently used, these are provocation and diminished responsibility, and only one full defence, self defence. These defences are used to reduce the sentence charge by the defendant to manslaughter from murder.

In the following text I will be examining how men use provocation and diminished responsibility to walk free from murder. I will analyse the advantages and disadvantages of these defences and any alternatives or reforms.

Firstly, provocation is seen by men
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The law today is far too lenient upon men who abuse and kill their wives and claim ‘provocation’ to lessen the charge. Women are constantly beaten by their partners and some kept prisoners in their own home and eventually killed. In the case R.v.Thornton the defendant was a battered wife who killed her husband. Her husband after threatening her, the husband fell asleep, she went to the kitchen and returned with a knife stabbing him while he was asleep. Any sane person would say that she would have never taken her husband on if he were conscious, and if he were, she would have been killed not him. In the case R.v.Wilkinson the defendant had suffocated his wife in front of his four children because she was seeing another man, the defendant claimed provocation and he is currently serving 4 years. We can see from this that the system is unbalanced; it is in the favour of men and degrades the women.

In the eyes of many these two defences are the focal point of the English legal system regarding murder, theft, assault etc. These defences can vary the sentence due to the severity of the actions and under what circumstances the crime was committed. If a women, for example, is being beaten constantly by her husband and is imprisoned in the house, and then suddenly lashes out at him and kills him,
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