ISSERTATION: An Analysis of Homicide Law within England and Wales: Should there be Reform?

Please can you base the dissertation on this modified proposal that you produced for me and the new titles etc to be followed. It has been changed slightly. My opinion throughout will be in support of reform, but to argue the opposit viewpoint also. I use a formal style of writing and many different sources. I need the most recently released reposts to be used also.

12 POINT FONT, DOUBLE SPACED, 4 CM MARGIN AT LEFT HAND SIDE OF PAGE

WORD COUNT ON LAST PAGE, NUMBERED PAGES

A CONTENTS PAGE AT THE BEGINNING:HEADINGS AND SUB-HEADINGS AND RELEVANT PAGE NUMBERS, BIBLIOGRAPHY AT THE END.

GIVE FULL AND ACCURATE FOOTNOTE CITATIONS OF ALL SOURCES USED

Criteria for dissertation:

” Thorough knowledge and understanding of the subject
” Sophisticated argument presenting personal reflection backed by evidence from a wide range of sources
” Clearly developed argument demonstrating original insights into orthodox understandings
” Independent research
” Thoughtful structure
” Lively, engaging and stimulating quality of writing
” Careful, thorough and consistent referencing

The examiners will take account of the following criterion:

” Your knowledge of your topic.

” The extent to which the material you use is relevant.

” The way in which you engage with topic.

” The range of depth of reading and research. A good dissertation should demonstrate that at least the major writings on a topic and relevant case and statutory sources have been located, read and understood.

” The structure, coherence and clarity of your argument

” The quality of your writing.

” The quality of your referencing. Your dissertation should include a sensible system of citation of references consistently used and a properly ordered bibliography.

” Your presentation. Your dissertation should include appropriate use of headings and paragraphs.


REVISION;
Law of Homicide
Reform

Current law
 The law governing homicide in England and Wales is a rickety structure set upon shaky foundations. Some of its rules have been unaltered since the seventeenth century, even though it has long been acknowledged that they are in dire need of reform.
Other rules are of uncertain content or have been constantly changed, so that the law cannot be stated with certainty or clarity&
& certain piecemeal reforms effected by Parliament, although valuable at the time, are now beginning to show their age or have been overtaken by other legal changes and, yet, have been left unreformed.

Murder, Manslaughter and Infanticide (Law Com No 304, 2006)
Problems with current law

Lack of rational structure and clarity, in particular:

implied malice (gbh) in murder
leniency of  reckless manslaughter
 two category structure of offences
UDA manslaughter
problems with defences
provocation, diminished responsibility as partial defences
duress as a defence to murder?
sentencing: mandatory life sentence for murder
Overview of proposed structure
New Homicide Act for England and Wales to:
replace the Homicide Act 1957
provide clear and comprehensive definitions of homicide offences and partial defences
extend the scope of duress
improve procedure for dealing with infanticide cases
Principles
the  ladder principle: individual offences of homicide should exist within a graduated system ? three tiers
this hierarchy should reflect the offence s degree of seriousness, without too much overlap between individual offences
also applies to sentencing
Structure of offences
First degree murder (mandatory life penalty)

(a) killing intentionally
(b) killing where there was an intention to do serious injury, coupled with an awareness of a serious risk of causing death

Structure of offences
Second degree murder (discretionary life maximum penalty)

(a) killing where the offender intended to do serious injury
(b) killing where the offender intended to cause some injury or a fear or risk of injury, and was aware of a serious risk of causing death
(c) killing in which there is a partial defence to what would otherwise be first degree murder
Structure of offences
Manslaughter (discretionary life maximum penalty)

(a) killing through gross negligence as to a risk of causing death
(b) killing through a criminal act:
(i) intended to cause injury, or
(ii) where there was an awareness that the act involved a serious risk of causing injury
(c) participating in a joint criminal venture in the course of which another participant commits first/second degree murder, in circumstances where it should have been obvious that first/second degree murder might be committed by another participant
Defences
Following partial defences would reduce first degree murder to second degree murder:
(1) provocation (gross provocation or fear of serious violence)
(2) diminished responsibility
(3) participation in a suicide pact

Duress would be a complete defence to first and second degree murder

CURRENT LAW

Murder

intention to kill
intention to do grievous bodily harm

Voluntary manslaughter
partial defence

Involuntary manslaughter
reckless
gross negligence
unlawful and dangerous act

RECOMMENDED LAW

1st degree murder
intention to kill
Intention to do serious injury while aware of serious risk of causing death

2nd degree murder
intention to do serious injury
intention to cause some injury while aware of serious risk of causing death
partial defence

Manslaughter
gross negligence
intention to cause some injury or awareness of serious risk of causing some injury

Problems/omissions?
precision: the exact meaning of  serious injury etc
modernised provocation and diminished responsibility defences only first degree murder
mercy killings still awaiting consultation



Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility

MANSLAUGHTER
Generally covers unlawful homicides which fall short of murder

Andrews v DPP [1937], Lord Atkin:
[Of] all crimes manslaughter appears to afford the most difficulties of definition, for it concerns homicide in so many and so varying conditions
Voluntary Manslaughter
AR of Murder (causing death act or omission) +
MR of Murder (intention to cause death or gbh) +
Reduced to manslaughter by successful plea of either the defence of diminished responsibility or provocation
Diminished responsibility
Widely drawn defence
The most frequently used defence to murder
Relationship to insanity (MNaghten rules) and sentence for murder
Burden of proof on D
S 2 Homicide Act 1957
 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 (whether arising from a condition of arrested or retarded development of mind or any inherent causes or induced by disease or injury) as substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his acts and omissions in doing or being a party to the killing.
Abnormality of mind
Byrne [1960]:  a state of mind so different from that of ordinary human beings that the reasonable man would term it abnormal
 wide enough to cover the mind s activities in all its aspects, not only the perception of physical acts and matters, and the ability to form a rational judgement whether an act is right or wrong, but also the ability to exercise will power to control physical acts in accordance with that rational judgement



Voluntary Manslaughter
Provocation

Provocation
AR of murder (causing death by act or omission) + MR of murder (intention to cause death or gbh) + reduced to manslaughter by successful plea provocation
Words or actions by the victim which precipitate the offence
D must advance evidence of provocation
D does not have to  prove provocation; prosecution must disprove it
Provocation and common law
R v Duffy [1949]
 Provocation is some act, or series of acts, done by the dead man to the accused, which would cause in any reasonable person, and actually causes in the accused, a sudden and temporary loss of self-control, rende