Discuss 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.  [50]

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Discuss 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. [50]

Loss of control is a partial defence to a charge of murder. If it is successful, D will be found guilty of manslaughter. This allows the judge discretion in sentencing. Loss of control replaced the former defence of provocation. This law is set out in s54 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. The old defence of provocation was abolished by s56 CJA 2009. Under the new law, if D wants the defence to be successful, they need to have lost self control, there must be a qualifying trigger and a person of the same sex and age should react in the same way
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The second situation arises where D’s long-term alcohol/drug abuse has led to a recognised medical condition (such as alcohol or drug dependence syndrome) which causes an abnormality of mental functioning. (R v Wood). Giving the judgement of the court, Sir Igor Judge explained that the jury must first consider whether the defendant’s syndrome was of such an extent and nature that it constituted an abnormality of mind induced by illness or disease. If they decided it was, they must then consider whether the defendant’s mental responsibility at the time was substantially impaired by the syndrome.

The Law Commission had proposed removing the loss of control criteria completely. This was because it was recognised that women in abusive relationships may kill from a combination of anger fear, frustration and a sense of desperation. The government decided not to follow this proposal. D must prove loss of self-control. The only concession is that loss of control need not be sudden. It is probable that some abused women will not be able to use the defence.
Sexual infidelity is no longer allowed as a qualifying trigger for the defence. Yet the defence of provocation was largely created for such situations and also widely biased towards men. If someone finds their partner cheating, they are very likely to lose self-control, but if this leads to D killing V, they will no longer have a partial defence to a charge of murder. Surely that contradicts the aim

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