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In regards to whether Ginger’s act was unlawful. For
this element to be completed, Ginger must have committed a criminal offence, which
he has. The criminal offence he committed was

 

The issues regarded Ginger’s liability for Lenny’s
can be resolved by going through the four elements of unlawful act
manslaughter. The first element being that the act must be in fact intentional.
It is clear that Ginger intended commit the act of slamming his fist on the
table as he went to “confront” Lenny. As death is not intentionally caused, he cannot
be guilty of murder, but can be of manslaughter. (add article)

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In light of this evidence, Keith would be liable for
the involuntary manslaughter of Janis, but not of Kurt. This is because him
injecting Janis is unlawful, objectively dangerous and definitely causes her
death, Cato 1976 1 WLR 110(where D and V injected each other with heroin
resulting in V dying and D surviving which caused him to be convicted of
unlawful manslaughter). The fact that the victim consented to the injection is
no defence to manslaughter. Regarding the death of Kurt, Keith is only liable
for offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 as he was in possession of
drugs and supplied them. He did not inject Kurt directly. This is explained in Dias
2002 2 Cr App R 5 where it was said “In any event it is likely in most cases that
the freely informed decision, by an adult of sound mind to self-inject drugs,
would amount to a novus actus
interveniens breaking the chain of causation.” This was reinforced
in Kennedy (No.2) 2007 UKHL38, in which it was held that the supplier
of the drug is not guilty of unlawful act manslaughter because the free and
voluntary act of self-administration breaks the chain of causation.

 

As the cause of Janis and Kurt’s death is the injection
of heroin, it can be said that Keith is responsible for this. However, due to
the fact that Kurt self-injected himself, which is a novus actus intervenius, breaking
the chain of causation and removing liability from Keith for his death.

 

For the conviction to be complete, it must proven
that Keith’s action caused the death of Kurt and Janis, meaning he was the
legal and factual cause of the victim’s death. Dalby 1982 1 WLR 425
states that the unlawful act must be aimed at the victim, however in Goodfellow
(1986) 83 Cr App R 23 where D set fire to his council house in order  to be rehoused but as a result he set fire to
his wife, three children and girlfriend, it disputed the rule in Dalby disagreed
and stated that although the defendant’s unlawful act must cause the death of
the victim, the act does not need to be directed towards the victim.

 

As the test is objective, it could be said that
Keith was objectively dangerous as his act was likely to injure Kurt and Janis
physically as injecting a needle breaks two layers of skin and is therefore a
Wounding under S18 OAP Act 1861. However, the issue here is that is
Keith “sober and reasonable” person. As the facts state that he is a “heroin
addict” it is assumed that he is not sober and therefore not able to act
reasonably. Based on this, one could argue that Keith did not commit a
dangerous act as he did not recognise that it was dangerous at the time.

 

The objective nature of the test can be criticised
because it fails to reflect the moral culpability of the defendant to convict
him in the absence of proof that he foresaw a risk of some harm. This is best
illustrated by the example of the ‘one-punch killer’ in which a drunk defendant
punches the victim, who falls over and sustains a fatal head injury. Such a
defendant could be convicted of unlawful act manslaughter even if he did not
foresee the risk of death or even harm to the victim, Mitchell 2008 and
Mitchell 2009. In DPP v (1977) Newbury and Jones, Lord Salmon
approved the objective test, stating that ‘the test is not did the accused
recognise that it was dangerous, but would all sober and reasonable people
recognise its danger’.

 

Another element of Unlawful Act manslaughter is that
the act is in fact dangerous. Humphries LJ in Larkin (1944) defines ‘a
dangerous act’ as an ‘act which is likely to injure another person’. For the
act to be dangerous it must present a risk of physical injury to another
person. An objective test is applied to the meaning of ‘dangerous’: the act
must be dangerous from the point of view of the reasonable man. It is not
necessary for the prosecution to show that the defendant himself realised that
the act was dangerous. This test derived from the case of Church 1966 1 QB
59 where D was involved in an argument with the victim, resulting in him
striking her and knocking her unconscious. On the assumption that she was dead,
D proceeded to throw her body in the river. However, she died from drowning and
not the initial blow. D was convicted of manslaughter and appealed. However,
The Court of Appeal held that the trial judge had misdirected the jury in
relation to unlawful act manslaughter. Edmund Davies J held that “the unlawful
act must be such as all sober and reasonable people would inevitably recognise
must subject the other person to, at least, the risk of some harm resulting
therefrom, albeit not serious harm…” The reasonable person need not recognise a
risk of serious injury or death resulting from the unlawful act; he/she must
merely recognise the risk of some harm.

 

As the unlawful act must amount to a criminal
offence in law, it could be said that Keith committed an unlawful act as he
committed the physical act of providing and injecting heroin with intention to
commit the act, going against the Misuse of Drugs Act 1974 S4, the criminal
offence he committed.

 

Additionally, the prosecution must also prove that
the act that Keith perpetrated was an unlawful act, meaning that it must be a
criminal offence. Prosecution must prove both the actus reus and the mens rea
of the defence. Historically, a civil wrong was held to be sufficient as the
unlawful act. In Fenton (1830) 1 Lewin 179 it was held that liability
for manslaughter could be constructed out of the tort of trespass to the
person. However, this was rejected in Franklin (1883) 15 Cox CC 163.
Here, D took a box from refreshment stall on Brighton Pier and threw it into
the sea. The box hit a swimmer in the sea, killing him. It was held that the
tort of trespass to the property of the stall keeper was not sufficient for
constructive manslaughter. Field J stated that a civil tort should not form the
basis of liability for a criminal offence. The unlawful act must be a criminal
offence therefore, D was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter, rather
than unlawful act manslaughter.

 

It is clear that Keith intentionally committed the
act of “preparing” the heroin for both Kurt and Janis and of “injecting the
heroin in (Janis) arm”. Therefore, Keith fulfils this element of the offence
and is responsible for the intentional act.

 

The prosecution must firstly prove that Keith intentionally
did the act. For Keith to be guilty, it must be proven that he intentionally
engaged in an act, an omission will not suffice. In Lowe 1973 QB 702,
D wilfully neglected his child, contrary to s.1(1) of the Children and Young 6Persons
Act 1933, resulting in the child’s death. This was not sufficient for a
conviction for unlawful act manslaughter leaving the question of whether a
defendant might be convicted of unlawful act manslaughter on the basis of an
intentional or deliberate omission. It is difficult to identify any rationale
for distinguishing between deliberate acts and deliberate omissions which both
lead to the same result, the death of a person.

 

Lord Parker CJ in R v Creamer 1966 defines
Unlawful Act manslaughter as when a man “intends an unlawful act … and death results
which was neither foreseen nor intended.” Glyn Jones J in R v Lamb 1967 2
QB 981 identified four elements that must be present for D to be convicted
of unlawful act manslaughter. There must be an intentional act that is unlawful
and objectively dangerous in which in fact causes the death of the victim(s).

 

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