Sudden Anger and Founding a Partial Defense to Murder Essay

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Sudden Anger and Founding a Partial Defense to Murder

Provocation acts as a partial defence to murder, but only to reduce
the conviction to manslaughter. The defence of provocation only
becomes relevant when the prosecution can show evidence that proves
that the defendant killed the victim with the necessary mens rea for
murder, that is ‘an intention to kill or an intention to cause
grievously bodily harm’.1 If the jury accepts that the defendant may
have been provoked to lose his self control and that a reasonable
person may have been provoked to lose his self control and do so as
the defendant, they must acquit of murder and convict of manslaughter.
This is known as the subjective and objective
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The alleged provocation was that a
neighbour she was visiting produced a knife but not in a threatening
way, but enough so to make her lose her self control, she then
snatched the knife and stabbed the neighbour to death. The Court of
Appeal agreed that it was ‘very difficult in such a case to
distinguish between the gravity of the provocation and the accused's
capacity for self-control which had been affected by the psychological
stress of the violence she had suffered’. Tipping J., giving one of
the majority judgments which held that the New Zealand statute on
provocation (section 169 of the Crimes Act 1961) mandated the
application of the distinction, said that it required "mental
gymnastics." 4

In 1994 battered women's syndrome was included for the first time in
the British classification of mental diseases. An appeal out of time
was allowed in R v Hobson [1998] CA and a retrial ordered to consider
the new medical evidence. In this case the defendant stabbed her
abusive partner to death in 1992. It was held that battered wife
syndrome was a mental disease and could cause abnormality of mind and
so a re-trial was ordered

Battered woman syndrome was confirmed as a characteristic in R v Smith
(Morgan) [2001] HL. In this case the defendant and the victim were
alcoholics and friends. During an argument where the…

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