Involuntary Manslaughter Essay

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Involuntary Manslaughter Involuntary manslaughter is an unlawful killing where the defendant does not have the intention to kill or cause GBH. The lack of intention is what distinguishes involuntary manslaughter from murder. There are two ways of committing involuntary manslaughter. These are unlawful act manslaughter and Gross negligence manslaughter. The maximum sentence for involuntary manslaughter is life imprisonment, thus giving the judge discretion to impose any sentence, which is suitable for the particular circumstances of the offence. In some cases, the judge may even pass a non-custodial sentence. Unlawful act manslaughter Unlawful act manslaughter is also known as constructive…show more content…
The risk need only be of some harm – not of serious harm, LARKIN (1943). An act aimed at property can still be such that a sober and reasonable person would realise the risk of some harm, GOODFELLOW (1986). There must be a risk of physical harm; mere fear is not enough, DAWSON (1985). The unlawful act must cause the death. The normal rules of causation apply; the act must be the physical and legal cause of death. An intervening act such as the victim self-injecting a drug breaks the chain of causation, DALBY (1982). However, where the defendant helps with the injection, the link is established, ROGERS (2003). It is vital to understand that the mens rea for involuntary manslaughter concerns the initial crime itself, and can be intention or recklessness. The defendant must have the mens rea for the unlawful act but it is not necessary for the defendant to realise that the act is unlawful or dangerous. Although most cases involve some form of assault that requires intention or subjective recklessness, in DPP v NEWBURY (1976), the initial offence (which was not identified in the case) was surely of criminal damage, for which Caldwell or objective recklessness was formerly required. However, following R v G (2003), this kind of recklessness is no longer applicable. Gross Negligence manslaughter Gross negligence
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