Manslaughter

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Manslaughter

Manslaughter is a less serious offence than murder, and sentences vary depending on the severity of the case. However, the maximum sentence, although this is not mandatory, is life imprisonment (a mandatory sentence for murder). Often during a murder trial, the judge can give the jury the option of finding the defendant guilty of manslaughter as an alternative to murder.

A manslaughter trial is extremely complicated and will require experts in various fields. It is crucial that anyone facing a manslaughter charge gets advice from specialist defence lawyers that will be pro-active with their case. Our expert criminal defence lawyers can advise and guide you through the whole process.

What is the difference between murder and manslaughter?

The difference between murder and manslaughter can be slight. Manslaughter occurs when there is a killing but without malice aforethought. Manslaughter generally falls into two categories:

Voluntary manslaughter is where murder is reduced to manslaughter due to a partial defence, which are:

  • Diminished responsibility: an abnormality of the mind that arises from a recognised medical condition. The abnormality must substantially impair the accused’s ability to understand their conduct, exercise self-control or form rational
  • Loss of control: this is a partial defence replacing the defence of provocation. It must be shown that the deceased’s behaviour was such that a reasonable person would have lost control. There must be a qualifying trigger such as fear of serious violence from the victim, however this does not need to be sudden. Revenge does not fall under this defence.
  • Killing in pursuance of a suicide pact: an agreement between two or more people for them all to die. The accused must have intended to die; however, they obviously survive if they are charged with the offence. If the accused did not intend to die themselves then this defence is not available.

Involuntary manslaughter can be charged in its own right where a person has been killed but the mental element is missing (there was no intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm). In other words, no motive can be established for the killing. Involuntary manslaughter falls under four categories:

  • Gross negligence manslaughter where the death of a person arises from an act or omission that was grossly negligent on the part of the defendant and caused the death.
  • Unlawful act manslaughter, where there is an intentional and unlawful act that is objectively dangerous and is the cause of the death.
  • Subjectively reckless manslaughter where a subjectively reckless act causes the death.
  • Corporate manslaughter where a gross breach of duty by senior management cases the death.

Manslaughter Defence Solicitors St Albans, Leighton Buzzard & Stevenage

If you are facing a manslaughter charge then you should seek expert legal advice immediately before disclosing any information to the police or entering a plea. At JSP our team have enviable levels of experience and a professional reputation for providing the best advice and representation for clients facing the most serious of charges.

We have dealt with a number of high-profile cases involving significant press attention which requires not only sound judgement when advising but also a clear focus on ensuring that defendants are not prejudiced by what appears in the media. We were instructed on the case of R v B (one punch manslaughter), which featured in the television programme “24 hours in police custody”.

Contact our expert Manslaughter Defence Solicitors St Albans, Leighton Buzzard & Stevenage for further assistance.

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