If someone is drowning and you refuse to help, are you responsible for his death?

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    (Original post by EastGuava)
    God is responsible
    :curious:


    Anyway, imo if you can swim and are capable of saving him then you're responsible for the death. If you can't swim you should still try and find someone that can help or throw something into the water that the person can use to float on
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    (Original post by Cain Tesfaye)
    It is a general principle of English law that there is no criminal liability for omissions - so don't hate the law!
    Except when there is a duty to act, which is arbitrary.
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    (Original post by Dima-Blackburn)
    Except when there is a duty to act, which is arbitrary.
    That is the exception to the "general principle" I referenced.

    It's not really that arbitrary, there are a set of well-defined scenarios where an exception is triggered (e.g. statutory duty; contractual duty; assumption of responsibility; or if you created the harm).
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    (Original post by Cain Tesfaye)
    That is the exception to the "general principle" I referenced.

    It's not really that arbitrary, there are a set of well-defined scenarios where an exception is triggered (e.g. statutory duty; contractual duty; assumption of responsibility; or if you created the harm).
    Interesting. In the case of the drowning child, omission to save the child would result in criminal liability but then how is that reconciled with the part you quoted which said "It is necessary to prove to the criminal standard that but for the omission the deceased would not have died"?
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    I think once you add in an element of risk, it complicates the matter. What if someone is drowning and you could just press a button to save them at no cost and with no risk to yourself? Would you be responsible for not pressing it?

    I think so. To me not pressing is no different to pushing them in.
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    (Original post by 0to100)
    This is why I hate the internet sometimes. Because people find liberty to defend watching someone die. Really, people?

    So if you're relaxing at the beach or the pool or your child is in the tub...

    you're not going to help if someone is dying simply because you did not push them in??

    In fact, why is this even a thread? How is this now a debate?

    That's enough TSR for me for today.
    Nuuu :cry2:
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    (Original post by Dima-Blackburn)
    Interesting. In the case of the drowning child, omission to save the child would result in criminal liability but then how is that reconciled with the part you quoted which said "It is necessary to prove to the criminal standard that but for the omission the deceased would not have died"?
    that would come under the "assumption of responsibility" exception (see: R v Shepherd (1862); R v Gibbons and Proctor (1918)).
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    (Original post by Callicious)
    If you refuse to help yet you're able to swim, that sort of situation, I'd think it terribly amoral. Personally speaking I can't swim; I'd still risk my life to jump in to whatever body of water it is and probably die trying to flail like a Magikarp trying to save the person.
    ^THIS
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    (Original post by Cain Tesfaye)

    in english law there is no duty of care between strangers (unless you create the harm, which is not the case here)
    English law isn't an absolute moral authority, if the government were to vote and make it so actually you do have a legal responsibility to save that person, would you suddenly change your mind?
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    it depends
    if you know how to swim, yes you might be responsible and in my opinion you are partially responsible for their death
    but if you dont know how to swim then no, because if you do go in the water "to help them", theres a big possibility that you'd drown yourself
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    (Original post by Horny Hijabis)
    English law isn't an absolute moral authority, if the government were to vote and make it so actually you do have a legal responsibility to save that person, would you suddenly change your mind?
    no, i still wouldn't think there should be duties to act among strangers (in any scenario)
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    (Original post by Cain Tesfaye)
    no, i still wouldn't think there should be duties to act among strangers (in any scenario)
    Right, but the previous argument is an irrelevance.
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    (Original post by Cain Tesfaye)
    so are you saying it is manslaughter, or that it should be manslaughter? the former is simply false, and the latter irrelevant.
    I believe in you, Cain. I can empathise with you.

    You are presenting valid, supported, logical facts. Yet some people dare to argue with you

    Welcome to TSR
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    (Original post by Horny Hijabis)
    Right, but the previous argument is an irrelevance.
    that wasn't an argument, i merely stated the position of english law after i gave my own position
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    Being able to swim does not mean you are able to save a person. One may be a perfectly competent swimmer with high levels of fitness and strength, but do not underestimate a human's willingness to die. If I swim out there to help, the drowning person could push me under, to try to get their head above the water. In their panic they would not know what they were doing and it is likely we could both die. Currents in the water could make it hazardous to even attempt to save the person. If I am watching and there is no one around nothing to throw, I'd have to assess the situation, could I die? If I could, how does that help the other person, if two of us end up dead? Would it not be better for me to make a call to 999 and take their advice as to what I should do in that unique circumstance?Sure, I would probably feel guilty for not helping the person, but that does not make me culpable for a death that ultimately I did not cause. I would probably have to live with the "what if...?"('s) for the rest of my life. But I would be alive, able to tell people what went wrong and try to stop it happening in the future. If the circumstance allows it, I'd consider saving the person. It is likely I wouldn't. Not because I am amoral, but because I lack faith I would be able to truly change the outcome.

    But as it always would... It depends on the circumstance.
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    (Original post by 0to100)
    It is manslaughter.

    Accidental death is manslaughter...
    if I were a lawyer I'd definitely try to pin someone for it in this case. And win.
    I don't think it meets the criteria for manslaughter as a failure to act is not the same as causing the death
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    If there is no relation between the two people, then according to law the person not drowning would not be charged. If they do not call 999 or shout out for help, they can be charged for that but not for the murder/manslaughter of the drowned person.
    If the person not drowning is the parent, or older sibling who is 18+, then they can be charged with manslaughter because they have a duty to act. Same with if they are an On Duty police officer, or public services person. Or if they are a lifeguard, because it is in their contract that they must react in these situations. If the person drowning is an adult, and the person not drowning is a child, the child does not have to jump in the water and try to save them.
    If there is no relation whatsoever, then by not helping they cannot be charged with manslaughter, whether it is immoral or not. There is no 'good samaritan' law in England.
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    (Original post by John Reece)
    If they do not call 999 or shout out for help, they can be charged for that but not for the murder/manslaughter of the drowned person.
    What criminal offence would that constitute?
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    Not too sure, I just know that they can be charged for it! Literally did this example in a law lesson last week

    (Original post by Cain Tesfaye)
    What criminal offence would that constitute?
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    I don't think drowning is the best example - unless you're sure you are capable of helping if someone is in serious trouble in the water the average person is only likely to create an extra casualty, possibly delaying the rescue of the first victim further rather than actually being able to help. Lots of people die attempting to rescue people drowning. Personally I'm not a great swimmer (and even good swimmers are at risk) so I would attempt to get help as fast as possible and if the person was still capable of listening attempt to give verbal help (e.g. lie on your back, swim parrallel to rip, take off heavy clothing) as it's really no help to anyone if we both die. I think people saying you shouldn't live with yourself if you don't risk your own life are a little silly, you should do everything reasonably possible to help another human being if they're in front of you but that doesn't include putting your own life at risk - I certainly wouldn't want anyone to die trying to save me.
 
 
 
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