Describe the Extent to Which Recent Reforms to Murder in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 Are a Change for the Better but Have Not Necessarily Satisfied Those Who Campaigned for Change.

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Provocation was previously controlled under S2 of the homicide act 1957, the act stated where a person kills or is party to a killing of another, he shall not be convicted of murder if he was suffering from such abnormality of mind as substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his acts and omissions in doing or being a party to the killing. The new defence S54-56 Coroners and Justice Act 2009 replaced defence of Provocation S3 Homicide Act 1957; it came into force October 2010.

There are three stages to proving loss of self control. Stage one is the defendant’s actions (in doing or being a party to a killing) must be down to the result of a loss of self control. There is no need for loss of self control to be ‘sudden’ however
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It must be set aside unless connects to incest or rape, this is to prevent use of the defence in honour killings. But in R v Clinton 2010 sexual infidelity could be taken into account as part of the context. Clinton had financial problems and his marriage was breaking down as a result of this he was suicidal. His wife told him that she had slept with 5 different people and also said to him it would ‘be easier if he committed suicide.’ He attacked her with a piece of wood and strangled her.

The third stage is a person’ of the defendant’s age and sex with a normal degree of tolerance and self restraint and in the circumstances of the defendant, might have reacted in the same or in a similar way to the defendant. If age and sex is not relevant to the conduct then they do not need to be considered. The normal person must be judged in the circumstances to which the defendant was in, all characteristics are relevant other than those which stand on general capacity for tolerance or self-restraint for example being bad tempered. In Holley the defendant killed his girlfriend with an axe. They both were alcoholics. She told him she had just had sex with another man, he picked up the axe intending to leave the flat and chop wood, when his girlfriend said ‘you haven’t got the guts’ he hit her with the axe. The defendant pleaded provocation however it was held that D’s alcoholism should not be

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