Voluntary Manslaughter:
Diminished Responsibility
Offences against the Person 1:
MAH 2013-14
Checking your Knowledge:
Can you complete the gaps?
Introduction:
What is DR?
Last lesson, we introduced the first of the voluntary manslaughter concepts we are
going to look...
The Basics of pleading DR…
Why do we need it?
Cause the law on insanity and
automatism is nuts! And the
mandatory life sen...
Old or New?
All of you should be able to identify the key elements of the two offences.
Most of you should be able to cons...
Element One:
Abnormality of Mental Functioning
R v Byrne (1960)
“ state of mind so different from that of
an ordinary huma...
Starter:
Can you spot the problems with this summary?
Diminished responsibility is a complete defence, which D may only ar...
Starter:
Can you spot the problems with this summary?
Diminished responsibility is a partial defence, which D may only arg...
Element Two:
Recognised Medical Condition
Thinking:
Mr Higginbotham
Has the law lost its merciful origins or
was DR in its...
There are two occasions that we need to consider...
A recognised medical condition problem:
Alcohol & Drugs (Intoxication)...
Key Case:
R v Dietschmann
1. What are the facts of the case?
2. On what grounds was D arguing
diminished responsibility?
3...
Plenary:
And now for the other issue...
D is intoxicated and suffers from an
unrelated AoMF
D’s AoMF is caused by the
intoxication
...
And now for the other issue...
Tandy
Wood
...confirmed in Stewart
Must cause brain damage or
irresistible impulse to drink...
Consolidation and Development:
“The courts approach to the problem of the intoxicated,
mentally disordered offender, is mu...
Element Three:
“Substantially Impaired”
Lloyd 1967
The word 'substantial' in the 1957 Act did not mean total, nor did it m...
Student task:
To show your
understanding,
answer the two
questions, using
supporting cases to
explain your
conclusions!
El...
Developing Your AO2:
How accurate are these statements?
1. It should be a mitigating factor in sentencing instead (the Spe...
Starter:
Can you sort the knowledge?
Lollipop Super?
Brains only
Sticker satisfactory?
Helpful handout time
Too easy?
Whic...
AO2 Reform:
What else could we do?
Draft Criminal Code:
“such mental abnormality as would
be substantial enough to reduce ...
Starter:
What’s the case?
Can you identify the facts or the name of the case?
Can you identify the area
the case applies t...
Application:
Can you apply the law to determine D’s liability for
the death(s)
Simon deliberately kills 6 women, claiming ...
Evaluation:
Can you apply the law to determine D’s liability for
the death(s)
Your plan should include creating the indica...
20 marks (one grade!)
All AO2
Definitions are key!
Address each
statement separately
No cases or statutes
Use bullet...
Statement C: Jim is still responsible for
the death of Louis despite Sebastian’s
actions.
Statement B: Jim can still plead...
Statement C: Sam would not be
able to argue diminished
responsibility as he was not
substantially impaired at the time
of ...
Plenary:
Answer one of these questions
E
A
B
C
D
Examine the issues with the defence raised by the
case of Brown.
Why is t...
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Dr 2013

  1. 1. Voluntary Manslaughter: Diminished Responsibility Offences against the Person 1: MAH 2013-14
  2. 2. Checking your Knowledge: Can you complete the gaps?
  3. 3. Introduction: What is DR? Last lesson, we introduced the first of the voluntary manslaughter concepts we are going to look at. Yesterday, a Philip Simelane was detained following a plea of DR. 1. What elements of the crime of murder did D have? Include the evidence! 2. What element of the crime is it targeted at? 3. Why do you think D was able to successfully plead DR? 4. Do you think that the life sentence would be appropriate here? Why? Thinking: What issues surrounding the partial defence and it’s use can you identify?
  4. 4. The Basics of pleading DR… Why do we need it? Cause the law on insanity and automatism is nuts! And the mandatory life sentence isn’t far behind. Windle 1952 Why wouldn’t you want to plead it? Proof and getting before the jury... You argue it, but only if the reasonable jury would think you’ve got a case! Sutcliffe 1981 What might influence a judge to withdraw it? Moyle 2008 Why is insanity not enough?  Jury decide this as it is a matter of fact Are juries the best people to decide matters of medical knowledge?  Burden of Proof is not against art. 6 Foye
  5. 5. Old or New? All of you should be able to identify the key elements of the two offences. Most of you should be able to consider what impact one of those changes has had on the operation of the law.
  6. 6. Element One: Abnormality of Mental Functioning R v Byrne (1960) “ state of mind so different from that of an ordinary human being that the reasonable man would term it abnormal.” “The mind’s activities in all its aspects” Thinking, Why do some people argue that the inclusion of ‘irresistible impulse’ unfair to most defendants?
  7. 7. Starter: Can you spot the problems with this summary? Diminished responsibility is a complete defence, which D may only argue to murder. It has most recently been reformed in the Coroners and Justice Act 1957, which updated and clarified the law. D must prove the defence beyond all reasonable doubt, and must advance medical evidence to support his argument. The majority of DR cases end up before a jury, who have to judge the sanity of a defendant. There are three elements to the defence, which need to be proven. Firstly, was D suffering from an abnormality of mind, which is defined in Burn as a state of mind so different from the ordinary that it is abnormal’. In addition, this must be caused by a recognised medical condition. The final two elements require D to be substantially impaired within the wording of the act, and for his abnormality to have been the cause of the killing. This last decision has been welcomed by doctors.
  8. 8. Starter: Can you spot the problems with this summary? Diminished responsibility is a partial defence, which D may only argue to murder. It has most recently been reformed in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, which updated and clarified the law. D must prove the defence on balance of probabilities, and must advance medical evidence to support his argument. The majority of DR cases do not end up before a jury, who have to judge the sanity of a defendant. There are four elements to the defence, which need to be proven. Firstly, was D suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning, which is defined in Byrne as ‘a state of mind so different from the ordinary that it is abnormal’. In addition, this must be caused by a recognised medical condition. The final two elements require D to be substantially impaired within the wording of the act, and for his abnormality to have been a cause of the killing. This last decision has been welcomed by doctors.
  9. 9. Element Two: Recognised Medical Condition Thinking: Mr Higginbotham Has the law lost its merciful origins or was DR in its older form simply misused to fill in other gaps in the law? Psychopathy Paranoia Epilepsy Depression Battered Women’s Syndrome Asperger’s syndromePostnatal Depression Pre-menstral tension
  10. 10. There are two occasions that we need to consider... A recognised medical condition problem: Alcohol & Drugs (Intoxication) D is intoxicated and suffers from an unrelated AoMF D’s AoMF is caused by the intoxication Gittens Egan Despite the drink was D sufficiently impaired If sober would he have been impaired Now a problem... So, let’s see if the House of Lords can solve this...
  11. 11. Key Case: R v Dietschmann 1. What are the facts of the case? 2. On what grounds was D arguing diminished responsibility? 3. What is the general rule on intoxication and diminished responsibility? 4. When can drink give rise to a s.2 Homicide Act 1957 defence? 5. What is the ratio of the case? 6. Does s.2 require the abnormality of mind to be the sole cause of D’s acts in killing? 7. What is the question to be put to the jury when assessing whether the impairment is sufficient? 8. Which case did they follow: Egan or Gittens? Why?
  12. 12. Plenary:
  13. 13. And now for the other issue... D is intoxicated and suffers from an unrelated AoMF D’s AoMF is caused by the intoxication Situation One: Voluntary Acute Intoxication Thinking: 1. What issues do you think influenced this decision? 2. What does this case illustrate about the courts’ use of DSM and the World Health manuals in determining ‘abnormalities of mental functioning’
  14. 14. And now for the other issue... Tandy Wood ...confirmed in Stewart Must cause brain damage or irresistible impulse to drink. The clear lines drawn in Tandy are no longer appropriate. It is the overall syndrome, not the nature of one drink as voluntary. D is intoxicated and suffers from an unrelated AoMF D’s AoMF is caused by the intoxication Situation Two: Alcohol Dependency Syndrome The response of the Court to the situation in Tandy is too strict and goes against the idea that diminished responsibility is a measure of compassion: really?
  15. 15. Consolidation and Development: “The courts approach to the problem of the intoxicated, mentally disordered offender, is muddled and unclear.” All of you need to decide whether the statement is true or false and why Most of you need to support your argument with reference to at least two supporting cases Some of you will address both issues surrounding intoxication and consider the consistency across the decisions.
  16. 16. Element Three: “Substantially Impaired” Lloyd 1967 The word 'substantial' in the 1957 Act did not mean total, nor did it mean trivial or minimal. It was something in between and Parliament had left it to juries to decide on the evidence. Confirmed by Brown 2011 In the Act, it actually specifies what is meant by this, and D may argue any of these. Understand the nature of their conduct The ability to form rational judgement The ability to exercise control What do you think is meant by each of these? Illustrate each one with a case!
  17. 17. Student task: To show your understanding, answer the two questions, using supporting cases to explain your conclusions! Element Four: D’s abnormality must provide an explanation for the killing “significant causal factor”  Explains why diminished responsibility mitigates liability for murder (the reason it’s an excuse!)  Emphasises that it must be active at the time of the killing (remember Campbell?) ...but it really doesn’t fit with modern medicine and psychiatric notions of explanation: Can you just blame the condition for the reactions of the defendant?
  18. 18. Developing Your AO2: How accurate are these statements? 1. It should be a mitigating factor in sentencing instead (the Spencer/Lloyd Amendment) 2. The new version brings the law into line with medical knowledge. 3. It is imposing an unfair burden of proof on the defence 4. It classes those in abusive relationships as “abnormal” in some way. 5. The new defence provides a much more strict approach to the interpretation of ‘abnormality of mental functioning’ and doesn’t allow the same flexibility as the old law. R v Higginbotham (2004) 6. It is almost impossible to separate intoxication and inherent causes. 7. The use of the defence can involve a range of overly complex and legal terminology which can be difficult for a jury to understand. 8. The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 is only a halfway effective reform. The government only included it because they wanted to reform provocation. Pass Grade: Clear explanation C Grade: Supported by well explained and criticised case B Grade: Counter argument introduced and explained. A Grade: Counter argument discussed and illustrated.
  19. 19. Starter: Can you sort the knowledge? Lollipop Super? Brains only Sticker satisfactory? Helpful handout time Too easy? Which element of the partial defence is missing and what does it mean?
  20. 20. AO2 Reform: What else could we do? Draft Criminal Code: “such mental abnormality as would be substantial enough to reduce the charge... to manslaughter.” Burden of Proof? “Developmental immaturity”* No mandatory life sentence? *you can also use your homework notes to add to these. Spencer/Lloyd Amendment
  21. 21. Starter: What’s the case? Can you identify the facts or the name of the case? Can you identify the area the case applies to? 1. My mind is burning with one desire... 2. I told you I’d do it! 3. Not a perfect plan to reach France... 4. He was a bit too eager to break in (hic!) 5. Depression isn’t everything (not when it comes to manslaughter!) 6. They really were coming to get me! 7. The baby made me do it. 8. Aunt you sad? You should watch out! 9. Precedent can be deadly. 10. Breakfast’ll kill you (36 hours later)
  22. 22. Application: Can you apply the law to determine D’s liability for the death(s) Simon deliberately kills 6 women, claiming he was driven by God to rid the world of prostitutes (although 3 of his victims were not prostitutes). Medical experts all agree that he is a paranoid schizophrenic. Bob, who was suffering from depression and an alcoholic, stabbed his brother Jim to death after drinking ½ bottle of whiskey. Bob had just been prescribed medication for the depression and thought that his brother had been stealing them and replacing them with sugar pills. He usually drank vodka, but had none in the house.
  23. 23. Evaluation: Can you apply the law to determine D’s liability for the death(s) Your plan should include creating the indicative content. Someone else is going to mark it!
  24. 24. 20 marks (one grade!) All AO2 Definitions are key! Address each statement separately No cases or statutes Use bullet points and names! Conclude clearly, using the key words of the question. Section C Question: Applying your knowledge
  25. 25. Statement C: Jim is still responsible for the death of Louis despite Sebastian’s actions. Statement B: Jim can still plead diminished responsibility to the death of Louis despite the alcohol as he was still substantially impaired. Statement A: Jim cannot plead diminished responsibility over Louis’ death as he was suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning. Jim, who is on medication for an adjustment disorder, drinks half a bottle of vodka with his friend, Louis. Jim, thinking that Louis has stolen his vodka, attacks him with a claw hammer, causing him serious injuries. Sebastian, the paramedic comes to help, but accidently breaks Louis’ rib, puncturing his heart. Louis is put onto a life support machine which is switched off by Steven, who is trying to save the hospital money. Statement D: Steven is not responsible for Louis’ death as he has only switched off the life support machine.  Steven would be responsible for the death of Louis if he had intended the death and caused the death without breaking the chain of causation.  As he has flipped the switch, his actions have clearly been an operative and substantive cause of Louis’ death, which would be enough for the actus reus of murder.  In addition, by choosing to flip the switch, it is clear that his ‘true desire’ to cause the death.  He is not acting in the best interest of the patient, and nor does Louis appear to be brainstem dead.  Therefore the statement would be false as although Jim stabbed Louis, Steven’s actions still legally cause the death.
  26. 26. Statement C: Sam would not be able to argue diminished responsibility as he was not substantially impaired at the time of the death Statement B: Sam would not be able to argue diminished responsibility as he was not suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning Statement A: Sam would be liable for the murder of Susie as he intends to cause her serious harm. Sam has recently been feeling very down as his girlfriend Susie has left him. He has been to the doctor, who has put him on medication to help. One night Sam meets his friend Mike for drinks, and over the course of a couple of hours, consumes a large quantity of alcohol. On the way home, he breaks into Susie’s house and strangles her. Statement D: Sam would be able to argue diminished responsibility as he was intoxicated at the time of Susie’s death. Demonstrate all those lovely practised skills...
  27. 27. Plenary: Answer one of these questions E A B C D Examine the issues with the defence raised by the case of Brown. Why is the case of Byrne important to the law on diminished responsibility? Identify two conditions which may be enough for a pleading of DR under the law and illustrate them with a case Explain why we allow some defendants to plead diminished responsibility What is meant by voluntary manslaughter?

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