Criminal Law: what is GBH? Manslaughter! Exam soon. Help PLEASE Watch

Ashley80
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Pezza18
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(Original post by Ashley80)
1. James, who suffers from delusions, picks up a club trophy from a shelf, waves it around in the air, and brings it down on the head of Maria, killing her instantly. He then slumps in a chair before he is heard to mutter ‘What have I done?’

I think this would be manslaughter but the "what have I done" quite confuses me and I now think it could also be murder.
Delusions refers to diminished responsibility as a defence to murder.

waving it in the air would be assault. s.18 for killing maria...and 'what have i done' could be an indication to support his defence of diminished responsibilty as he doesn't know what he is doing, and can't be held responsable for those actions.

I did this last year, although i got an A, it's all kinda been forgotten. HA.

And generally, if there is a battery, i would assume that there has been an assault?

AND WHAT DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND ABOUT MANSLAUGHTER? YOU'RE AWARE THAT THERE IS INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER AND VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER I ASSUME?
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jacketpotato
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1. For battery all you need is touching
For ABH you need actual harm, defined in the statute as any physical farm that is non-trivial if I recall correctly
For GBH the statute unhelpfully defines the harm you need as "serious". What constitutes "serious"? Your guess is as good as mine.

(Original post by Ashley80)
I would have started with manslaughter right from the beginning and then obviously wouldn't have been able to talk about the provocation as it wouldn't apply. I just don't see where John has the intention to cause death or GBH here. I thought murder would be if he had planned it and manslaughter if it is caused by the circumstances?!
For murder you need intention, either intention to kill or intention to cause GBH (I suspect you are missing that part). If there obviously isn't intention, then just say "it can't be murder because there is no intention" and move on: don't consider non-issues. Though if you are in doubt, take the safe path and consider it, even if your discussion is fairly brief.

I'm not sure where you got the idea from that there obviously isn't intention. Stabbing someone in the chest with a knife sounds like a fairly obvious example of intending to cause GBH - possibly intention to kill - to me. Ditto with the trophy - although whilst I think stabbing someone in the chest is evidence of a pretty clear intention to commit GBH, with the trophy its less clear and probably depends on how hard he hit her - presumably quite hard if she died.

The "What have I done" isn't massively relevant, but it does hint that James wasn't thinking about what he was doing which hints at diminished responsibility
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Snookercraze
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With s.18 offences, you need specific intent to cause GBH or serious injury.

As for the question regarding John, I would have thought the he had the intention to kill, as stabbing someone in the chest clearly constitutes this.

As for the question with James, if he hit Maria in the head intentionally, then it will be murder. If it was accidental (without intention), I would say manslaughter.
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Snookercraze
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(Original post by Ashley80)
Why not manslaughter or s. 47 but s. 18 for Maria??

I absolutely don't get the difference between:
- s. 47 (assault occasioning actual bodily harm, offences against person act)
- s. 18: grievous bodily harm (offences against person act)
- s. 20:grievous bodily harm (offences against person act)
- battery
- and wounding

If I kick someone in the face: that would be GBH -> so battery ? but it would also be wounding?! and ss. 18 and 20 offence against person act???

^ That can't be correct but it looks all the same to me.


EDIT: I agree with you jacketpotatoe that there he commits GBH with the trophy but I don't know which of the sections above applies?!


What I don't get with the whole provocation/automatism/intoxication thing: say on the example above I'd say:
liable for murder:
actus reus: unlawfully killing a reasonable person -> ok
mens rea: intention (direct or oblique) to cause death or GBH -> ok
and THEN I'd have to talk aboutdiminished responbility/provocation, right? and my example (if DR or provocation applies) would be:
not guilty of murder but of manslaughter (murder reduced by diminished responsibility).
Wounding is only apparent when all layers of skin are broken. So, a kick in the face, that leads to bruising would lead to an s.47 offence most likely, not an s.20/s.18 offence.
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Pezza18
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Yeh, hitting the trophy against maria would be s.18 OAPA.
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jacketpotato
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(Original post by Ashley80)
Why not manslaughter or s. 47 but s. 18 for Maria??

I absolutely don't get the difference between:
- s. 47 (assault occasioning actual bodily harm, offences against person act)
- s. 18: grievous bodily harm (offences against person act)
- s. 20:grievous bodily harm (offences against person act)
- battery
- and wounding

If I kick someone in the face: that would be GBH -> so battery ? but it would also be wounding?! and ss. 18 and 20 offence against person act???

^ That can't be correct but it looks all the same to me.


EDIT: I agree with you jacketpotatoe that there he commits GBH with the trophy but I don't know which of the sections above applies?!


What I don't get with the whole provocation/automatism/intoxication thing: say on the example above I'd say:
liable for murder:
actus reus: unlawfully killing a reasonable person -> ok
mens rea: intention (direct or oblique) to cause death or GBH -> ok
and THEN I'd have to talk aboutdiminished responbility/provocation, right? and my example (if DR or provocation applies) would be:
not guilty of murder but of manslaughter (murder reduced by diminished responsibility).
The best approach to criminal law questions is to take one defendant at a time, and consider each offence they might have committed. Most serious to least serious. Consider the requirements of each offence ( have a list of the basic requirements for each offence before you go into the exam - you can seperate it into actus reus and mens rea if you need to, but don't feel you have to - this obsession between actus reus and mens rea in the textbooks is very anal and doesn't work very well for statutory offences) in turn; then consider offences.

So if there is a homicide, first consider the possibility of murder. Then consider defences to murder.
If there isn't a clear murder conviction (there won't be), then consider manslaughter.

With the offences against the person,
first consider GBH
If it might not be GBH, consider ABH
If it might not be ABH, consider battery
consider assault

With theft, you might want to consider burglary/robbery if appropriate and then go on to consider theft.

For the offences against the person, check this Venn diagram
http://img30.imageshack.us/img30/5516/oapa.jpg

Parts of problem questions concerning the level of harm will naturally have facts that are at the line between ABH and GBH, or at the line between ABH and battery.

The only differences between the offences is how serious the harm is. A GBH will also be a ABH, and ABH will also be a battery. You shouldn't consider them as seperate offences, just view ABH and GBH as more serious examples of battery. It matters because the penalties for ABH and GBH are more serious.

So if you conclude that there is GBH, there is no need to consider ABH and battery. If you consider that there might be GBH or ABH, you don't need to consider battery since the events are obviously at least ABH.

So, lets say you have a problem question where the events are obviously ABH but may or may not be GBH.

First, discuss whether the defendant is guilty of GBH.
If the defendant is obviously guilty of GBH, stop there - thats the level of offence committed.
If the defendant isn't very obviously guilty of ABH, then consider ABH. You don't need to repeat yourself - concerning the mens rea etc., just say "these requirements are likely met, see above", and then go on to discuss whether there is "actual non-trivial harm" or however the statute phrases it.
If there isn't obviously ABH, go on to battery. But if there is obviously at least ABH, and the question is whether the offence is ABH or GBH, then there is simply no need to consider battery. If it makes you feel better, just say "there is obviously a battery as well, but as the defendant is guilty of ABH I won't consider this point any further".

In your example, *all* of the sections apply. The question is whether you can get the more serious conviction for GBH or can only get the less serious conviction for ABH. Though I think whether the defendant is guilty of murder or manslaughter is the more important point your question is getting at (crashing a trophy on someone's head hard enough to kill them looks pretty obviously to be GBH to me - its clearly "serious")
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psychocustard
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(Original post by Ashley80)
And why wouldn't a kick in the face just be plain battery??? I don't really see the difference between these statutory things and battery.
Oh dear, how have you managed to get through the year without understanding this? Is your teacher just crap or something?

Overall, it depends on the damage done. So by kicking someone in the face, you'd have direct intent for a start. If both layers of skin are broken, it counts as a GBH.
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jacketpotato
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(Original post by Ashley80)
And why wouldn't a kick in the face just be plain battery??? I don't really see the difference between these statutory things and battery.
Yes, it would be battery.

But it would also be ABH, possibly even GBH. You get charged with the most serious offence - you would be charged with ABH in this case. There is no need to charge for battery because the defendant is already being charged with a more serious offence. If its borderline, then you would get charged with something like "ABH, alternatively battery", and the defendant's lawyer would argue that he is only guilty of a battery and the CPS would argue that he is guilty of ABH. This matters because the offences for ABH are more serious. In the real world, you often get plea bargains: the CPS might say "if you plea guilty so there doesn't need to be a trial, then we will only charge you with battery and not ABH". Even if you think you might have a chance of getting off the hook at trial, you might accept this because it ensures that you only get convicted of battery and not ABH. Likewise with homicide, if its not obvious whether you are guilty of murder or manslaughter the CPS might agree to just charge you with manslaughter if you plea guilty. Thats obviously off-syllabus though, just a bit of background.
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Pezza18
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(Original post by Ashley80)
Uhm...don't really see why s. 18 OAPA for Maria because then he wouldn't be able to rely on diminished responsibility (what the problem question asks for I assume) because it only applies to murder. And s. 18 says: actus reus: cause GBH...here she is even dead. :-|
You can use diminished responsability with murder...and she caused the death with a s.18 offence.

Good teacher this year?
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Snookercraze
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(Original post by Ashley80)
And why wouldn't a kick in the face just be plain battery??? I don't really see the difference between these statutory things and battery.
I'm assuming that after a kick in the face, there will be some sort of injury, like bruising or even a broken nose. When this is the case, the weight of the offence is greater than just battery. With battery, there does not have to be any physical injuries; a mere punch in the face without an injury is enough to constitute a battery offence, but not an s.47 or s.20 offences.

Is this for A-Level Law or degree law? I'm really intrigued by Law. :woo:
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Snookercraze
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(Original post by Ashley80)
Does anyone agree with this? Cause I wouldn't have gone with s. 18 but would have gone for murder (and then diminished responsibility) as the victim is dead and intention could be to cause GBH.
Are we talking about the incident involving Maria? If so, I would have gone for murder as well, as long as it was intentional.
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Pezza18
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(Original post by Ashley80)
Does anyone agree with this? Cause I wouldn't have gone with s. 18 but would have gone for murder (and then diminished responsibility) as the victim is dead and intention could be to cause GBH.
Sorry if i didn't explain myself, i would have gone with murder and used diminished responsability as a defence...although i would still mention s.18 when applying the law.

:cool:
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Pezza18
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(Original post by Ashley80)
Automatism/DR/intoxication/provocation all do apply to murder, don't they?
Yes they can all apply to murder. Although with voluntary intoxication you can't use it as a defence to murder, manslaughter or treason. But the rest do apply to a charge of murder.

Hope that helps.
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Azori
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(Original post by Ashley80)
Does anyone agree with this? Cause I wouldn't have gone with s. 18 but would have gone for murder (and then diminished responsibility) as the victim is dead and intention could be to cause GBH.
Remember that if you have the actus reus for murder, intending S18 GBH is enough to warrant a conviction for murder (R v Vickers)
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jacketpotato
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The main issue in that question is probably whether throwing the snowballs is reckless enough or grossly negligent enough to constitute the mens rea for manslaughter. However, it is at least arguable that it constitutes oblique intention, its an issue I would definitely consider - though it is doubtful whether "throwing snowballs" can count as intent to cause GBH.
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