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What does not constitute murder? Involuntary manslaughter

Unlike cases of voluntary manslaughter, a person kills but there is no intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm.
© University of Hull

The law considers the person who caused death to be blame–worthy. In other words, there is sufficient fault to justify criminal liability for manslaughter.

A person is criminally liable for involuntary manslaughter in cases of: (i)Gross negligence manslaughter [R v Adomako] (ii) Unlawful or dangerous Act

Gross negligence manslaughter This occurs where death is the result of a grossly negligent act or omission on the part of the defendant.
Drawing from the case of  R v Adomako (1994) 3 All ER 79, it must be shown that: (i)The defendant owed the victim a duty of care (ii) The defendant breached that duty of care (iii) The breach of the duty caused or significantly contributed to the death of the victim (iv) The breach was so gross as to justify a criminal conviction

Case example “Adomako was an anesthetist who failed to notice for six minutes that a tube that supplied oxygen to his patient had become disconnected from the ventilator. As a result, the patient died. He was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter, but appealed on the basis that the judge had misdirected the jury.” (Herring, 2014, 274) The Court of Appeal rejected both of his challenges and confirmed that it was a case of gross negligence manslaughter.

Unlawful Act In such cases, the act is unlawful and criminal and consists of the commission (and not omission) of an act. The defendant must have also been guilty of actus reus and mens rea.

Dangerous Act The unlawful act must be dangerous.

© University of Hull
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Introduction to Criminology

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