Offences Against the Person (3):
So what do you think?
All of you should be able to decide whose actions fall into constructive act and which into gross negligence
Most of you should be able to identify those who would not be liable for their manslaughter and explain why, identifying the
limits of the offences.
Some of you should be able to identify the key elements of gross negligence and illustrate them with reference to a case
What do we mean by involuntary
Does this really exist...
... Or is it just another
form of gross neg?
What’s the word?
Type of Manslaughter One:
What was the basis of their liability?
What is the purpose in imposing liability on these
Which other area of the law, which we have already
looked at, will be of relevance to this area of law?
Do you think they should be found liable or not and
Challenge: Can you identify at least
one problem with imposing liability on
people like the defendants?
Can you complete the sentences below to outline the
four key elements to be proven, if D is to be found
liable for GNM?
And it must be....
Fall so far...
Running a risk of....
1. What was D’s duty to V?
2. What had he failed to do?
3. When do you think that he goes from simple negligence
to gross negligence?
4. What is the key question when looking at the negligence
5. Who decides whether D is liable for the breach or not?
And identify one problem with them having this role.
6. What did the expert witnesses think of his conduct?
7. What are the four key elements of manslaughter by
8. Which other duties and cases can you think of which may
fall into this area of the law?
Duty of Care
Donoghue v Stevenson 1932
“You must take reasonable care to avoid acts and omissions
which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your
All of you should be able to answer the questions
Most of you should be able to support your answer with reference to a case
Some of you should be able to evaluate your answer.
1. Over the years, the courts have expanded and developed the range of situations. Is it
a closed list?
2. The ‘neighbour’ principle can be used, on its own, as the basis for liability. Where is
the proof of this?
Case Duty? Owed by whom? Facts? Basis of the Duty? Evaluate the
Singh 1999 Duty to maintain property
Litchfield 1998 Employer to employee
Khan & Khan 1998 Summon Assistance?
Dias 2002 Possible duty not to supply
and prepare drugs for
Pittwood 1902 Gate operator to public
Wacker 2002 D was a lorry driver bringing 60 illegal
immigrants in. He closed the air vent on the
ferry to prevent detection and forgot to open
it. The ferry was delayed and 58 died.
Stone & Dobinson 1977
Duty to keep caring for
someone once you start.
Harris & Harris 2003 Parent to child
Willoughby 2004 Conspirator to conspirator
You have the answers on
the cards in front of you…
Can you sort them all out from the clues on the grid?
All of you must ensure that you complete the pass grade sections
Most of you will also be able to complete C grade development
Some of you will be able to complete the A grade evaluation.
Susan refuses to give her
bedbound husband any food
on days ending in ‘y’.
The husband dies.
Sebastian and Louis plan to
rob a house. Whilst in the
house, Louis knocks over a
candle setting fire to the
house, trapping Sebastian,
Joe is employed by the local
council and has to put out the
cones to mark off dig sites on the
local road. One day he goes for a
coffee before putting them out.
Sue drives into the site, crashing
Sylvia is bored taking meals to
her grandmother, and decides
to go on holiday instead. Her
grandmother starves to death.
Explain one way the criminal law on duty of care differs
from the civil law.
Identify and explain three problems with the imposition of
a duty on D
Look at the following four scenarios. Which duty of care
could be imposed in each situation?
Breach of Duty Causing Death
What if V does
something which puts
them in danger, even
when they have been
warned? IS D still liable.
What about the drugs cases*?
Evans (Gemma) 2009
The courts had already said that it is not constructive act
manslaughter as D’s voluntary actions break the chain.
1. What is the ratio of this case?
2. What is the role of the jury in
gross negligence cases?
3. What had D done?
4. What was D’s duty and how was
What was the question the court should
consider in determining whether or not D
owed a duty of care?
Why was her mother
not the subject of an
*we will revisit this issue in constructive act!
D’s Actions must be Grossly Negligence
R v Bateman 1925
“Such disregard for life and
safety of others as to amount
to crime against the state
deserving of punishment.”
Decided by the jury
The action must have been so wrong in all the circumstances as to
be deserving of criminal punishment...
Task: Complete the cryptogram
to reveal the key phrase!
Risk of what to be liable?
Stone and Dobinson Bateman
Which to choose?
Andrews v DPP
“In my opinion the law as stated in these two authorities [Bateman;
Andrews] is satisfactory as providing a proper basis for describing the
crime of involuntary manslaughter.... Examples in which this was done,
to my mind, with complete accuracy are Reg. v. Stone”
The question is “not whether D’s
negligence was gross and additionally a
crime but whether his behaviour was
grossly negligent and consequently
criminal” Judge LJ
In other words: the outcome not the
offence is the only uncertain thing.
A risk of death only was sufficient.
How far does the current approach to
the law on ‘risk’ justify the imposition
of liability on those who owe a duty
and fail, causing death?
Constructive Act Manslaughter
What is the basis of liability for those charges
Why do you think we impose liability for
manslaughter in these situations?
Challenge: consider what you
Know about the law on murder.
What problem can you see
With regards to charging D?
D must have done...
It needs to be an ....
It must cause...
D’s Mens rea?
Student AO2 Thinking Questions...
Why is called constructive act?
Can you spot any problems with the
Who will decide whether D is liable or not?
Why might it be justified to impose liability
for constructive act?
There must be an unlawful Act
Hancock & Shankland
Franklin 1883 Lowe 1973
Can you identify the illegal act in each one of these cases?
There must be a
criminally illegal act
Why was there no unlawful act
What would have been needed for
D to have been liable for V’s
What do you learn about the
definition of assault from this case?
It must be a positive,
“An act which all sober and reasonable
people would realise would subject V to
at least some harm”
Carey & Others 2006
What issues and
What kind of
actions might it
This is measured objectively.
Student AO2 Task:
Why might we argue that the approach of the court in
Church is too broad and unfair? Aim to use at least one
case in your reasoning.
So, if D must foresee the risk of some harm... what
type of harm would be enough?
Harm aimed at a
Harm aimed at
What if the victim is weaker, so the harm
is worse? Can we take this into account?
R v Mitchell
R v Goodfellow
R v Dawson
R v Watson
How do you distinguish between these two cases?
Where does the case of Carey fit into
James kills Louise by
pushing her into the
road, intending just to
make her trip up on the
What type of manslaughter are each
of these situations?
Voluntary or Involuntary?
James kills Louise. He is
her doctor and fails to
notice that the oxygen
tube has become
James kills Louise whilst
drunk. He is suffering
from brain damage
caused by an earlier
blow to the head and
now loses his temper
James kills Louise by
drowning her in the
water, thinking that she
is a fish who needs to be
James kills Louise by
punching her once in
the chest, causing her
rib to break and pierce
James kills Louise
because she taunts him
about being beaten up
by his younger sister on
a regular basis
James kills Louise by
stabbing her through the
heart after she
threatens to kill his son.
She has previously hit
him on a number of
R v Arobieke 1988
D, who was 6 ft 7 and over 20 stone, was at a
railway station looking in trains. V, who was
terrified of him, spotted him and ran away over the
railway tracks, electrocuting himself.
Applying the Law:
Is D liable for the death?
Apply what you know about constructive act manslaughter to the case below and
conclude on his liability!
The Court of Appeal quashed the conviction on the ground that there had been no criminal
act by the defendant, as the evidence did not show that the defendant had physically
threatened or chased the deceased.
New Development in the Law (?):
Ajose & Can 2009
Can harming someone psychologically be enough?
D’s unlawful act must cause the Death of V
R v Lewis 2010
D was driving home in the early
morning. Students were crossing the
road and one hit the car. D got out of
the car and pushed the woman who
hit the car. Her brother, V, intervened
and then ran off. D ran after him, and V
ran into the path of another car and
Such that all sober and
responsible person would
Causing the death
Applying the Law
Can you spot the elements?
Challenge: Why would D argue that he did not cause the death of V?
What about the person who supplies the drug, or even
prepares it. Is this a dangerous act?
R v Cato 1976 R v Dalby 1982
D was a drug addict who lawfully
obtained drugs on prescription. He gave
some of the tablets to V, also known to
be a drug addict. V had consumed a
large quantity of the drug in one
session, and subsequently injected
himself with other substances. The
following morning he was found to have
died of a drug overdose
s.23 Offences Against the Person Act 1861
“administer a noxious substance”
Two friends spent a night injecting
each other with heroin and water
mixes. The victim had prepared the
mixture but Cato had injected it.
It’s the “inbetween” bit which caused problems!
Newbury and Jones 1976
How fair is this approach to the Defendant and their liability? Aim to include reference
to at least one case in your response!
Reckless Act Manslaughter
A third type... Or simply another way to be negligent?
Seymour 1983 Adomako 1994
Reckless Act Manslaughter
Does Reckless Act Manslaughter
still exist after Adomako?
A third type... Or simply another way to be negligent?
Knee, infection, dead
To breathe or not to breathe, that is the question
Neigh, neigh, choo, choo
Let’s play catch… choo,
Tighter… tighter… oops
How much do you want? No
matter to me if your well
Go on, shoot me! Revolver?
What’s a revolver?
How do you tell they’re
dead again? Splash!
You want me to shave? But I’m a girl!
Gimme rent, honest I’ll
look after you.
How nice am I? Have a
I can see a vein…
Eww! What a horrible drink.
What a lovely ship, shame
about the fuel
I know how I’ll get a new
house… and lose my family
You’re old! You’re frail! Oops…
is he breathing?
Splash, splash. Oh this
looks like a nice place to
dump some rubbish.
Can you name the case?
All of you need to be
able to identify the
facts of most of the
Most of you will be
able to name most of
Some of you will be
able to ascribe the
case to one of the
areas of involuntary
What could happen to improve the law?
You each have a copy of an article from
the A Level Law Review Magazine, which
is available in both libraries as well as
details of the reforms at the back of
This article summarises the main points
and issues with the offences
You each have 12 statements, some
of which are true and some of which
Read the article and see if you can
work out which are which!
Developing your Evaluation
Pick three of the points which are
supported by the text.
Develop each of these points into
an argument on whether the
current law works, and whether
these proposals are an efficient
Write these up in your blue books
Aiming for the top?
Include at least one case in your
argument, to support and develop it.
“Paul, who is Louis’ father, has an argument with him. He
punches Louis at the top of the stairs causing him to fall
down the stairs and break his neck”
Applying the Law to the Scenario
Student Task: Using the post-its, put down as much evidence as you can that D committed each of
the manslaughters....and then conclude!
Gemma is a police officer on duty who gets
into an argument with Sandra, a pensioner.
She pushes Sandra who falls into Olive,
breaking her ribs and killing her.
Sarah is a drug dealer who likes to be helpful.
She injects Lois with heroin, as she has never
injected before. She also provides Karen with
heroin and watches as she injects. Sarah
leaves the room and comes back to find both
girls overdosing. She runs off. They die.
Lisa likes to collect old harpoon guns. She
shows them to Clive and John, telling them
they are too old to work. He takes one out,
and it fires, killing Lisa. Panicking he runs out
and tries to drive off. John, tries to get Clive
to stop by jumping on the car bonnet. Clive
speeds up and then brakes. John is dragged
under the car and dies.
Emma hires Fred, a qualified electrician, to re-
wire her house. She is unhappy when she notices
sparks coming from the switches as she turns some
lights on or off. Emma complains to Fred who
returns to do some checks. He assures her that
everything is in order and perfectly safe. The next
morning, Emma goes to take a shower in the
bathroom. When she turns on the shower control,
she receives an electric shock that causes her to
fall and bang her head, knocking her unconscious.
Fortunately, her friend, Gita, arrives almost
immediately and discovers Emma. Gita calls an
ambulance and Emma is rushed to hospital. While
Emma is still critically ill she develops an infection.
Hugh, a junior doctor employed by the hospital,
fails to read Emma's medical notes properly. The
notes clearly show that Emma is allergic to
penicillin. Hugh gives Emma penicillin to treat the
infection. As a result of her allergy Emma dies.
Discuss the liability of Fred and Hugh for
Emma’s death. 
How to construct a problem question response...
25 AO1; 20 AO2; 5 AO3
AO2 are for application
Must be logical in your approach to
Deal with each defendant separately
Conclude, but remember: you
aren’t the jury!
It is likely that... She would probably be
Emma hires Fred, a qualified electrician, to re-wire her house. She is unhappy when
she notices sparks coming from the switches as she turns some lights on or off. Emma
complains to Fred who returns to do some checks. He assures her that everything is in
order and perfectly safe. The next morning, Emma goes to take a shower in the
bathroom. When she turns on the shower control, she receives an electric shock that
causes her to fall and bang her head, knocking her unconscious. Fortunately, her friend,
Gita, arrives almost immediately and discovers Emma. Gita calls an ambulance and
Emma is rushed to hospital. While Emma is still critically ill she develops an infection.
Hugh, a junior doctor employed by the hospital, fails to read Emma's medical notes
properly. The notes clearly show that Emma is allergic to penicillin. Hugh gives Emma
penicillin to treat the infection. As a result of her allergy Emma dies.
Discuss the liability of Fred and Hugh for Emma’s death. 
Sorting out that answer...
Make sure you
have the law to
back you up
So we’ve highlighted and annotated...
now, we order it.
“In discussing Fred’s liability we will have to consider....
Introduction: Outline the issues you are going to discuss in your essay.
Main:Apply the law!
Deal with each defendant separately, and deal with OCD in that order!
Look back... overall what do you think they should
be liable for and why
“Having considered the issues, it seems likely....
It’s Post-it time!
The case of Lidar is incorrect, as reckless Act does
not exist. Discuss whether or not you think that this
is a correct statement on the law and why.
Explain what the problem with supplying a drug and
liability for manslaughter was, and how the court has
Explain why we impose liability on those who
Identify two limitations on the meaning of ‘illegal act’
in Constructive Act Manslaughter.
Define the offence of gross negligence manslaughter
and illustrate with a case