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Criminal law problem question watch

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    Eddie, aged 15, lives with his parents, Josie and Kevin, and his 11 year-old brother, Frank, in the city. Josie and Kevin go away for the weekend on a romantic mini-break, leaving the children with Lara, their grandmother, who lives on a farm in the countryside. On the Saturday morning, Eddie decides it would be fun for him and Frank to set up a rope swing from one of the rafters in the hay shed which would allow them to swing from one high stack of hay to another. Eddie sets the swing up, which can only be accessed by climbing up onto the top of a stack of hay via a ladder, roughly 2 metres high. The boys spend most of the morning on the swing. However, Eddie had not tied the rope very securely and it breaks when Frank is on the swing. He falls and hits his head, becoming unconscious.

    Terrified that he will get in trouble, Eddie doesn’t tell his grandmother about what happened. He carries Frank back to the house and puts him in bed. Eddie tries to care for Frank himself but does not tell his grandmother what happened or call for any medical assistance. Frank is found dead in bed by his grandmother (who had become concerned by his absence) later that day. Medical examination shows that had he received timely medical treatment he would have lived.

    Distraught at the death of their son Frank, and at the possibility of criminal charges being brought against Eddie, Josie and Kevin start to experience relationship troubles. Kevin begins to drink heavily, becomes quite aggressive, and is at times is physically violent. One day they have an intense argument, during the course of which Josie calls Kevin a ‘useless man’ who is ‘an alcoholic, good-for-nothing bully’. The argument continues and culminates when Josie yells at Kevin that it is his fault Frank died because it was his decision to leave the boys with his mother who was clearly useless at looking after children. Kevin, who already feels enormous guilt about Frank’s death, flies into a rage. He grabs Josie by the throat and strangles her to death.

    Assess the criminal liability of Eddie and Kevin.


    What do you guys think?
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    Start with what you think first. Then people will reply and tell you you're wrong or you're right.

    It takes a lot less effort to criticise your thoughts than to give a naked answer ourselves. Hence we're not going to do the latter.
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    Kevin = murder all day long.
    As a long shot, he might be able to claim loss of control under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 but his history of violence and drinking will weigh heavily against him and I very much doubt it would succeed.

    Eddie = a bit more difficult to define.

    Murder? No intent to kill or commit GBH.

    Manslaughter by gross negligence? - Yes.
    He had a duty of care over Frank and he breached it by not tying the rope properly. But the test for this is objective and it does not seem to be *gross* negligence. However, his duty of care continues and although he saw the need to get medical help, he didn't. This is called the "but for" test. Frank would have lived but for Eddie not calling an ambulance and this would be *gross* negligence in breach of a duty of care.

    For completeness, as he's under 16 Eddie cannot commit an offence of causing the death of a family or household member under section 5 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004.
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    (Original post by Notoriety)
    Start with what you think first. Then people will reply and tell you you're wrong or you're right.


    It takes a lot less effort to criticise your thoughts than to give a naked answer ourselves. Hence we're not going to do the latter.

    I believe Manslaughter for Kevin, with loss of control also. In regards to Eddie I’m edging towards duty to care, diminished responsibility/gross neg? I’m just in need of some form of guidance. Thanks.
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    (Original post by Rick Ape)
    Kevin = murder all day long.
    As a long shot, he might be able to claim loss of control under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 but his history of violence and drinking will weigh heavily against him and I very much doubt it would succeed.

    Eddie = a bit more difficult to define.

    Murder? No intent to kill or commit GBH.

    Manslaughter by gross negligence? - Yes.
    He had a duty of care over Frank and he breached it by not tying the rope properly. But the test for this is objective and it does not seem to be *gross* negligence. However, his duty of care continues and although he saw the need to get medical help, he didn't. This is called the "but for" test. Frank would have lived but for Eddie not calling an ambulance and this would be *gross* negligence in breach of a duty of care.

    For completeness, as he's under 16 Eddie cannot commit an offence of causing the death of a family or household member under section 5 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004.
    Thanks and I agree. I just wanted others opinions and a bit of guidance on this problem question
 
 
 
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