According to the English Law of Homicide, murder is a greater offence than manslaughter the difference between the levels of fault is usually based on the mens rea (it’s a Latin word for “guilty mind”). In England or Wales, manslaughter is used as a defence in place of murder as it has less charges, the jury then rules whether the defendant is guilty or not. Sentencing is at judge’s discretion in case of conviction, but in the case of murder life sentence is mandatory. Manslaughter is classified in two subgroups; involuntary or voluntary, this subgroups depends on whether the defendant has mens rea for murder (Law Commission Report No. 304).
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This arises where the accused did not the intentions to cause death (death occurred accidentally), or a serious injury that caused death to another person via carelessness or criminal negligence. In these circumstances, carelessness is termed as a serious disregard for the harmfulness or dangers of a particular object or situation. A good example is; a man drops a brick down the bridge but accidentally kills another man who was attending to the bridge, the jury of this case is involuntary manslaughter as the mens rea required for murder does not exist. But in case by dropping the brick there was a high chance of hitting someone and killing him then the case would be different because it would be as result of recklessness; it is a form of manslaughter termed as constructive or unlawful act manslaughter (Law Commission Consultation Paper No. 177).
Liability of Plosh
This case is under manslaughter by gross negligence, this is where somebody causes death through extreme carelessness or in other terms due to incompetence. This is in reference to the English law. The specifications of carelessness may vary from one jurisdiction to another, in other terms it is termed as lack failure to use reasonable height of precaution0 in a given circumstances and it may include both omissions and acts. The accused in these cases are individuals who are expected to carry out jobs or duties that aim to tender or take care of the party that was killed, but instead become less reasonable and cause death (G. Williams, 2009).
Plosh is a wife to Becks and in marriage they both have a duty of care to another but accidentally in the aim of scaring her husband she ended up stumbling him with the knife. At the same time, Plosh gives Babe heroin; an illegal drug and accidentally she takes an overdose and dies. In this case, Plosh is accused to have caused the death f the two but the ruling is different for each.
In a case between E and V, E was accused of gross negligence manslaughter. V was a sister to V, E took some heroin home, V and her mother self administered the drug together with E. E late noticed that V had taken an overdose but E was familiar with the condition, later E volunteered to spend the night with her sister so that she could look after her but the both never looked for medical attention (E and the mother who were both convicted with the same charge) fearing they would be accused of supplying hard drugs. The ruling was that without including that she was supplying hard drugs, was that she did not take any step after the overdose, yet it was her duty on V. The drug supplying part was put aside because it was undisputable that she was supplying the drug. E declined that she owned a duty of care to her sister through an appeal and she contend that the judge was not correct. She further contented giving an allowance for juries to make a decision on whether she owned the duty of care in reference to Article 7 of ECHR (it deals with vague offences) (G. Williams, 2009).
What was help by the five members Court of appeal?
In reference to the law on gross negligence manslaughter, it was very essential for the defendant (E) to take an action as she own a duty of care. The duty of care in the gross negligence was not confined to the professional or familial relationship between the defendant and the deceased, it is as a result of E being the one who caused the state of affair of which they clearly knew tat it is life threatening but failed to act yet she was available. The ruling was done basing the facts on criminal and civil liability for negligence (G. Williams, 2009).
A discussion on Plosh case
In reference to the case law above Plosh had three offences, causing death to the husband, being in possession of heroin and failing to act on the case of Babe. The death of the husband was as a result of extreme recklessness; she threw the knife aiming to scare the husband but accidentally killed the husband. It was very ignorant of her to throw a knife in the name of scaring. She knew the dangers associated with it, it was a serious disregard for the harmfulness or dangers of that object in that situation. Thus the manslaughter in that case was indisputable though it was involuntary. She was also in possession of heroin which is an illegal hard drug, where she went forward and gave it to Babe. Plosh gave it to her yet she knew of it lethal effects and never took her for medical attention. Just like E, in the above case law, the duty of care was not brought by the familial or casual friendship but as a result of administering the drug to her.
In this case the jury should not be left to decide the question of duty of care. This is an essential ruling of the gross negligence manslaughter offence related to drug abuse and supply. It offers clarification of the division of responsibility which exists between jury and judge in all gross negligence manslaughter. Individuals should be very cautious on the involuntary manslaughter and well as using the right channel to solve misunderstands .
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