Jim Meyer :: ranked as a leading criminal and regulatory enforcement solicitor
Specialist manslaughter defence solicitor
If you are looking for a specialist manslaughter lawyer who can defend you against an allegation of unlawful killing, speak to Jim Meyer; he is a ranked UK criminal defence lawyer who has extensive experience in this area and has successfully secured the acquittal of numerous clients accused of such matters.
Jim’s case experience includes defending those accused of:
Voluntary manslaughter (these sorts of cases include circumstances which effectively amount to murder but the charge is reduced to manslaughter because the court accepts that the accused lost control, suffered from diminished responsibility or was acting in pursuance of a suicide pact);
Involuntary manslaughter, where Jim’s clients were either accused of causing someone’s death:
By an unlawful act likely to cause bodily harm (“unlawful act manslaughter” also referred to as “constructive manslaughter“); or
Through gross negligence.
Jim’s expertise in relation to voluntary manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter is dealt with elsewhere on this site but the bottom line is that if you or a loved one are accused of causing the death of another then you need to immediately instruct an experienced solicitor, like Jim, to mount the most robust defence possible.
In Jim’s experience, whilst unlawful act manslaughters are most typically alleged when death follows an assault or some other offence against the deceased, such as administering a noxious thing, this isn’t always the case and the unlawful act alleged doesn’t actually have to be directed against the person who has died. In all cases, the key to a successful outcome will be by establishing one or a combination of the following:
Doubt as to whether the alleged act caused1 the death; or
Doubt as to whether the accused committed the alleged act; or
The accused was acting lawfully, for example, in self-defence; or
A sober and reasonable person would not have recognised the risk of some physical harm resulting from the accused’s act.
1 In criminal law, the police don’t just have to prove that death would not have occurred but for the accused’s act; they must prove that the accused’s actions (or, in the case of gross negligence manslaughter, ommissions) contributed towards the death more than trivially.↩
How can you successfully defend a manslaughter case?
In order to successfully defend an allegation of manslaughter, you need to identify which of the above scenarios is applicable. That is your investigative aim and when you know that you can identify and agree on the actions which, if fulfilled, will help you achieve it. Jim can help you with this, and advise on the prospects of your investigations succeeding. This will include the potential for challenging:
Forensic evidence; and
Behaviour that accompanies the giving of testimony by witnesses, in terms of “what”, “how” and “why” it emerged.
Challenging forensic evidence
Juries find scientist evidence compelling and place great trust in it. In Jim’s experience, there is often a substantial gap between theory and practice when it comes to the path of forensic evidence in terms of knowledge, skills, appropriate practice and the application or even existence of quality controls and quality assurance. It is also the case that statements and reports by those involved in a forensic investigation are liable to have manifest shortcomings or to be characterised by omission. The approach you need to take to this evidence is clear – maintain a healthy scepticism:
Always remember that because of the way in which the police choose evidence to submit for examination and because of the way the prosecution’s scientist prepares the report for the court, forensic evidence is highly selective in nature;
The disbanding of the Forensic Science Service has increased the risk from failures to control the quality and reliability of the evidence the expert instructed by the police produces and presents to the court, and such evidence can be wrong, for all manner of reasons;
Forensic evidence is open to interpretation and there may be another, innocent explanation;
The forensic evidence may be totally irrelevant;
Think about the forensic evidence that is absent from the case.
If you instruct Jim, probably the first thing you will realise is that he is a straight-talking lawyer who provides honest and frank advice without any "BS". The same is also true about what he will tell you in relation to how much it will likely cost you to hire him, and he aims to be completely transparent about what he charges, what this pays for and how this compares to a lawyer being remunerated under legal aid. Jim believes this is the only way his clients can make a sensible, informed decision on how to proceed.
Jim has compiled a database of historical bills for matters in a single financial year to help him estimate how much a case will cost. Looking at this data there are 61 cases1 where:
The main allegation was manslaughter,
There was a single defendant, who
Pleaded not guilty, and
Was subseqently tried before a jury in the Crown Court.
Based on this information, Jim's advice is:
The prosecution evidence in a typical case alleging manslaughter normally runs to approximately 1,962 pages (note that this does not include CCTV, multi-media or digital evidence; nor does it include any unused material served by the prosecution [i.e. material which the prosecution believes may undermine its case or assist the case for the accused] or any evidence collected by the defence); the minimum number of pages was recorded as 10 and the maximum was 38,461;
A crown court trial where there is a single defendant and the main allegation is manslaughter will normally comprise 85 prosecution witnesses and last around 13 days (the lowest number of witnesses recorded was 14 and the most was 225; the shortest trial recorded was 3 and the longest was 51);
For a trial lasting 13 days with 85 witnesses and a similar page count of 1962 pages, Jim estimates the total cost (including VAT and the advocates fee but excluding any other disbursements) will be in the range of £174,620 to £265,980. This compares to the typical fee2 of £35,900 paid to the legal team under legal aid.
1 Note that this doesn't represent all of the data on historical cases; in order to try to provide a "like-for-like" comparison it is restricted to cases where there was a single client and the matter was tried in the crown court. This will give you a general idea but obviously Jim will be able to advise you on the specifics of your particular case and the impact this may have on the likely cost. ↩
2 This is an approximation. There are calculators available on the MOJ's website which can help you work out the fee claimable under the scheme, excluding any additional payment made for "special preparation".↩
SC (Lord Reed PSC, Lord Hodge DPSC, Lady Black JSC, Lord Lloyd-Jones JSC, Lady Arden JSC, Lord Kitchin JSC, Lord Hamblen JSC)
30 October 2020
A patient who had killed her mother during a severe psychotic episode was not entitled to recover damages against the health authority for its negligent failure to return her to hospital prior to the killing. Applying the public policy approach in Gray v Thames Trains Ltd  UKHL 33, the claims were precluded by the illegality doctrine which prevented a claimant from being compensated for losses suffered in consequence of their own criminal act.
A starting point of 20 years' detention of a 17-year-old convicted of manslaughter could not be complained about, but the sentencing judge had been wrong to apply a discount of only two years for the offender's youth and maturity where she had not identified factors which called for an unusually low reduction.. A sentence of 12 years' detention rather than 18 was imposed to reflect his naivety and the fact he had been groomed by negative influences to participate in criminal activity.
CA (Crim Div) (Lindblom LJ, Hilliard J, Judge Flewitt QC)
6 May 2020
Where an offender had pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, a judge had erred in assessing his "retained responsibility" as medium to high under the sentencing guideline. Although the judge concluded that the offending was caused by the offender's anger, the psychiatric evidence clearly indicated that the most significant factor was his mental illness and that his anger at the time of the offence was not extraneous to his mental illness, but a manifestation of it. The offender's retained responsibility was low, and it was appropriate to impose a hospital order under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.37 and a restriction order under s.41.
A sentencing judge had erred in failing to reach a conclusion on the category of culpability under the Manslaughter Definitive Guideline 2018 of a woman convicted of manslaughter for stabbing to death her partner after a history of domestic violence. A category and starting point should be decided before consideration of the aggravating and mitigating factors.
CA (Crim Div) (Flaux LJ, Goose J, Julian Knowles J)
17 October 2019
Permission to appeal against sentence and convictions for manslaughter and child cruelty by the victim's father were refused where there had been no error in the admission of bad character evidence at trial and the 10-year sentence of imprisonment was not manifestly excessive.
CA (Crim Div) (Hickinbottom LJ, Andrews J, Judge Mayo)
13 June 2019
A sentencing judge had erred in imposing a sentence of life imprisonment, with a hospital and limitation direction under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.45A, on an offender who had pleaded guilty to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility and whose retained responsibility for the offence fell into the lowest category. Any punitive element in the sentence would have no force, as it was less than the period required for his treatment in a secure hospital in any event. Instead, a hospital order under s.37 with a restriction from discharge under s.41 would have significant benefits for the offender's rehabilitation.
The Director of Public Prosecutions' decision not to prosecute for manslaughter the boyfriend of a woman who had died after falling from the balcony of her fifth-floor flat was reasonable where the case would have relied heavily on circumstantial evidence. The conflicting views expressed by highly experienced prosecutors as to whether there was sufficient evidence to proceed showed that although the woman might have fallen while trying to escape violence from the boyfriend, other scenarios were equally plausible, and the different theories would raise too much doubt for a prosecution to succeed.
CA (Crim Div) (Holroyde LJ, William Davis J, Judge Goldstone QC)
21 February 2019
An extended sentence of 20 years, comprising a 17-year custodial term and a three-year extended licence period, imposed on a young offender following guilty pleas to manslaughter, threats to kill, affray, criminal damage and having offensive weapons, namely acid and a lethally adapted Samurai sword, was not manifestly excessive. The series of offences had been wicked and committed without regard for life or limb and the offender had demonstrated a serious level of criminal maturity.
CA (Crim Div) (Green LJ, Stuart-Smith J, Judge Paul Thomas QC)
21 February 2019
Parties wishing the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) to view video footage should liaise with the court to ensure that the video format was compatible with the court's technology. In relation to lengthy footage, the parties should prepare a short document summarising and/or indexing what was to be found on each video and identifying the points in time when the salient events occurred.
CA (Crim Div) (Holroyde LJ, Sweeney J, Judge Joseph QC)
6 February 2019
The court considered the extent to which time spent on remand in local authority accommodation under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 s.91(3) could be taken into account when passing sentence.
A judge had failed to have proper regard to the sentencing guidelines for children and young people when sentencing an 18-year-old for an offence of manslaughter committed when she was 17. The sentence imposed of nine years' detention did not reflect the age, immaturity and resultant culpability of the offender at the date of the offence, and was reduced to five years' detention.
CA (Crim Div) (Hallett LJ, Treacy LJ, Sir Wyn Williams)
27 March 2018
The court summarised the general principles to be considered by those representing and those sentencing offenders with mental health problems that might justify a hospital order under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.37 and s.41, a finding of dangerousness and/or a s.45A order.
CA (Crim Div) (Gross LJ, Sweeney J, Judge Burbidge QC)
16 February 2018
A sentence of 11 years and 10 months' imprisonment imposed in 2016 following a guilty plea to a manslaughter offence committed in 2008 was not manifestly excessive. Although sentences for manslaughter offences such as the instant offender's which involved a knife and gang violence had substantially increased since 2008, there was no untoward effect where the sentencing judge had approached her task in a measured and reflective manner and had correctly applied the current guidelines while staying within the maximum sentence applicable in 2008.
The court reduced, from 11 years to 10 years' imprisonment, the sentences imposed on the parents of a 17-week-old child following their convictions for causing or allowing her death. Although there were numerous aggravating features, including an attempt to cover up the circumstances of her death, insufficient weight had been given to the finding that the parents had had constructive, rather than actual, knowledge of the significant risk of serious harm to their child.
CA (Crim Div) (Thirlwall LJ, Warby J, Recorder of Westminster)
6 October 2017
A judge had not erred in imposing a sentence of life imprisonment upon an offender who pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility, rather than hospital and restriction orders under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.37 and s.41. Although fresh evidence had been produced, to the effect that the offender had been suffering from schizophrenia at the time of the offence, that evidence did not establish that the offending was entirely due to mental disorder. Even on the basis of the fresh evidence, the judge could not have concluded that the most suitable method of disposing of the case was by way of a s.37 order.
CA (Crim Div) (Irwin LJ, May J, Judge Dickinson QC)
7 July 2017
Sentences of 13 years' and nine years' imprisonment were appropriate in the case of two men who had been convicted of manslaughter (one having pleaded guilty) after ambushing a man delivering pizzas and using violence to rob him.
A person suffering from schizophrenia who killed while intoxicated could rely on the defence of diminished responsibility if their condition was of such severity that, even without intoxication, it would have impaired their responsibility. They could also rely on the defence if the schizophrenia was coupled with drink or drug dependence which together substantially impaired responsibility.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Thomas LCJ, Sir Brian Leveson, Hallett LJ)
28 March 2017
The court refused an application made by various media organisations for disclosure of video recordings taken by a marine during the killing of a wounded insurgent in Afghanistan. The balance of the principles of open justice and the rights of the media under ECHR art.10 against the circumstances militating against disclosure lay against disclosure.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Thomas LCJ, Sir Brian Leveson PQBD, Dame Heather Hallett, Openshaw J, Sweeney J)
28 March 2017
A marine whose conviction for the murder of a wounded insurgent in Afghanistan was quashed and replaced by a verdict of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment and dismissed from the armed forces. In the absence of a Sentencing Council guideline for the offence of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, the court set out in detail the relevant factors for consideration.
CMAC (Lord Thomas LCJ, Sir Brian Leveson PQBD, Dame Heather Hallett, Openshaw J, Sweeney J)
15 March 2017
A marine's conviction for the murder of a wounded insurgent would be replaced by a verdict of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. At the time of the killing, the marine had been suffering from an adjustment disorder which substantially impaired his ability to form a rational judgment and exercise self-control.
CA (Crim Div) (Sir Brian Leveson PQBD, Holroyde J, Saunders J)
15 March 2017
A sentence of 20 years' imprisonment was appropriate following a conviction for manslaughter where an 18-year-old offender had deliberately driven a stolen car at a police officer. The judge had been correct to find that a grave offence of manslaughter had been committed, with a very high degree of culpability. He had not erred in having regard to what the minimum term would have been if the offender had been convicted of murder.
CA (Crim Div) (Sharp LJ, Sweeney J, Judge Dean QC)
3 March 2017
Where an offender was convicted at trial and there was only one possible interpretation of the jury's verdict, the judge had to sentence on that basis. However, where there was more than one possible interpretation of the verdict, the judge had to make up his own mind, to the criminal standard, as to the factual basis on which to pass sentence. Only if he was not sure of any of the interpretations, was he obliged to pass sentence on the basis of the interpretation most favourable to the defendant.
CA (Crim Div) (Davis LJ, Jeremy Baker J, Judge Munro QC)
7 February 2017
A judge's direction in a murder trial as to the meaning of "substantial" impairment within the Homicide Act 1957 s.2 as regards the defence of diminished responsibility had amply complied with the guidance given in R. v Golds (Mark Richard)  UKSC 61; she had not elaborated unduly and the conviction was safe. The offender's sentence of life imprisonment with a minimum term of 22 years, whilst severe, was not manifestly excessive.
The court was bound, by Clunis v Camden and Islington HA  Q.B. 978 and Gray v Thames Trains Ltd  UKHL 33, to reject on public policy grounds a damages claim brought by an individual who had pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility when, due to the defendant's negligence, she suffered a psychotic episode and killed her mother. The ratio in Gray, preventing such an ex turpi causa claim from succeeding, applied even though the sentencing judge had found that she had not had significant personal responsibility for her actions.
CA (Crim Div) (Sharp LJ, Morris J, Recorder of Westminster)
22 November 2016
A jury had been entitled to convict two brothers of manslaughter where they had savagely assaulted a man who had subsequently died jumping out of a window to escape, despite there being evidence of a gap in time between the assault and the jump.
CA (Crim Div) (Beatson LJ, Haddon-Cave J, Judge Marson QC)
15 November 2016
A sentence of 18 years' imprisonment was appropriate in the case of a man who had been convicted of manslaughter and wounding with intent after stabbing his father to death and injuring his brother with the knife he was using.
CA (Crim Div) (Hamblen LJ, Holgate J, Judge Rook QC)
13 October 2016
The court allowed three offenders' appeals against their sentences for murder, manslaughter and perverting the course of justice. The minimum term applicable to the sentence of life imprisonment for murder was reduced from 18 years to 16 years, the custodial term of 12 years for the extended sentence for manslaughter was reduced to 10 years, and the sentence of three years and four months for perverting the course of justice was reduced to two years.
CA (Crim Div) (Lloyd Jones LJ, Thirlwall J, Knowles J)
9 September 2016
A judge in a manslaughter trial had been right to refuse to admit evidence of the deceased's alleged bad character in respect of allegations of drug misuse and sexual abuse. The allegations were not relevant to the issues in the case.
CA (Crim Div) (Sir Brian Leveson PQBD, Holroyde J, May J)
7 September 2016
Medical evidence detailing a baby's injuries that had been shaken was sufficient to justify advice to an appellant that he caused serious bodily injury to the child and to plead guilty to a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm. A subsequent acquittal from manslaughter as the jury was satisfied that the shaking had not caused the cerebral injuries leading to the child's death years later, did not mean that the defence advanced for manslaughter would have been a successful defence to inflicting grievous bodily harm.
A sentence of life imprisonment imposed on a mentally disordered offender following his conviction for manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility was quashed, and replaced by a hospital order and a restriction order. New psychiatric evidence revealed the course of a deteriorating mental condition which required continuing hospital treatment, and it was imperative that the offender would be subject to appropriate medical supervision on release.
CA (Crim Div) (Burnett LJ, Hickinbottom J, Soole J)
20 May 2016
A judge in a manslaughter trial had not erred in allowing the prosecution to produce animations made by one of its expert witnesses which illustrated her opinion as to how the death had occurred. The decision was well within the ambit of the judge's discretion under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 s.78 and he had directed the jury that animations did not constitute any form of independent scientific evidence.
CA (Crim Div) (Hallett LJ, Jeremy Baker J, Judge Bourne-Arton QC)
12 April 2016
A mentally disordered offender's culpability and responsibility for killing his parents in a savage and sustained knife attack was significant, notwithstanding his diminished responsibility. A life sentence with a minimum term of 19 years and 73 days' imprisonment, together with a hospital and limitation direction under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.45A, was appropriate.
The first and second appellants' convictions for, respectively, the murder and manslaughter of a 15-year-old girl in 1981 were not rendered unsafe by the conduct, criticised in other cases, of the police officers involved in the investigation.
CA (Crim Div) (Davis LJ, Haddon-Cave J, Whipple J)
15 January 2016
When imposing sentence for manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, judges were entitled to consider what sentence might be appropriate in comparable cases involving murder, subject always to acknowledging the reduced culpability inherent in diminished responsibility cases. A vast disparity between sentences for murder and sentences for manslaughter in cases of diminished responsibility might be inimical to the good administration of justice where the manslaughter came close to murder.
CA (Crim Div) (Treacy LJ, Carr J, Kerr J)
24 November 2015
Sentences of 10 and 15 years' imprisonment respectively were appropriate for the manslaughter of a child committed by a mother and her close friend. The sentencing judge had fallen into error in sentencing one of the offenders on the basis that the child had also been subjected to physical abuse amounting to a form of torture, when that had not formed part of the indictment and had not been admitted or proved.
CA (Crim Div) (Elias LJ, Edis J, Judge Farrer QC)
22 October 2015
A judge had been entitled to put relevant previous convictions to a jury in a manslaughter trial where the defendant's propensity to violence was relevant as to whether he had hit the deceased in self-defence or as the aggressor. A 14-year extended sentence was not manifestly excessive where it had been the defendant's second conviction for manslaughter in similar circumstances.
It was appropriate to replace a life sentence imposed on an offender for the manslaughter of his father on the ground of diminished responsibility with an indeterminate custodial sentence with a minimum tariff of seven years. The court accepted that the offender suffered from a delusional disorder and his culpability was not as high as the evidence before the judge suggested. There was a compelling need for the offender to receive treatment and the Department of Justice should urgently consider making a prison transfer order.
CA (Crim Div) (Macur LJ, Green J, Judge Bidder QC)
27 August 2015
ECHR art.7 had not been breached where an offender, sentenced in 2014 to life imprisonment for a manslaughter committed 14 years previously, had had his minimum term determined on current sentencing practice rather than the practice of the courts at the time of the offence. Unlike the minimum term for mandatory life sentences for murder which were subject to the statutory regime in the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the calculation of the minimum term in discretionary life sentences for manslaughter was an exercise in judicial discretion.
CA (Crim Div) (Davis LJ, King J, Recorder of Nottingham)
22 July 2015
An offender who had pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment. Evidence of his state of almost total mental turmoil at the time of the killing reduced his level of culpability, he did not pose a risk of serious harm and he could not be styled as dangerous.
PC (Trin) (Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Clarke, Lord Hughes, Lord Toulson)
20 July 2015
In a murder trial where diminished responsibility had been put in issue, deficiencies in psychiatric reports, in the cross-examination of psychiatrists and in the summing-up relating to the psychiatric evidence led to an unsafe murder conviction.
CA (Crim Div) (Treacy LJ, Teare J, Recorder of Birmingham)
17 June 2015
A sentence of nine years' imprisonment following a conviction for manslaughter was increased to 14 years where a judge had relied on outdated case law.
Where an offender who had pleaded guilty to manslaughter had driven dangerously, causing the victim to be dragged along by the car for over 100m before being thrown clear, a 10-year period of disqualification from driving was not manifestly excessive. The disqualification imposed was only one-and-a-half years longer than the custodial term imposed.
CA (Crim Div) (Davis LJ, Stewart J, Lewis J)
26 February 2015
Offenders' convictions for a joint enterprise murder were quashed and substituted for convictions for manslaughter and affray, where it was not clear that they both had the common intention to kill or cause serious harm.
A murder conviction was restored where The Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (Antigua and Barbuda) had been wrong to find that a judge had not explained provocation to a jury: the judge had made it amply clear that provocation arose if and only if the ingredients of murder, including intent, were proved. Additionally, the Appeal Court's decision to receive new defence evidence did not have to involve any finding that the evidence could reasonably have affected the outcome of the trial, and its subsequent determination that the new evidence added nothing to the agreed facts was correct.
CA (Crim Div) (Treacy LJ, King J, Andrews J)
13 February 2015
A sentence of 10-and-a-half years' imprisonment imposed following guilty pleas to manslaughter and two counts of conspiracy to steal was increased to 12 years' where the judge had failed to mark the gravity of the totality of the offending, where persistent and sophisticated criminality had caused the death of an innocent victim.
CA (Crim Div) (Rafferty LJ, Kenneth Parker J, McGowan J)
6 November 2014
It was appropriate to quash an offender's conviction for wounding with intent contrary to the Offences against the Person Act 1861 s.18, and to replace it with a conviction of simple wounding under s.20, where, on the facts, an alternative charge under s.20 should have been placed before the jury.
CA (Crim Div) (Treacy LJ, Turner J, Judge Pert QC)
9 October 2014
A sentence of 20 years' imprisonment imposed on a father for manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility where he had killed his daughter when suffering from an inability to make rational decisions was reduced to 17 years' imprisonment as it did not give appropriate weight to the circumstances of the case.
CA (Crim Div) (Treacy LJ, Foskett J, Judge Inman QC)
8 July 2014
A minimum term of 13 years and four months was appropriate in the case of a 24-year-old man who had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his mother and sister. Although this was a case of diminished responsibility, the offender bore a significant responsibility, given his voluntary taking of drugs, for the killings.
CA (Crim Div) (McCombe LJ, Supperstone J, Judge Goldstone QC (Recorder of Liverpool))
13 June 2014
In a murder trial, a judge had been correct to exclude the possibility of an alternative verdict of manslaughter by reason of loss of control where the defendant maintained that his wife had attacked him and then committed suicide.
CA (Crim Div) (Treacy LJ, Kenneth Parker J, District Judge Rees)
7 May 2014
A sentence of four years' imprisonment imposed on an offender who had pleaded guilty to manslaughter arising from a full-force single punch to a defenceless victim was consistent with the sentencing practice set out in Attorney General's Reference (Nos 60, 62 and 63 of 2009), Re  EWCA Crim 2693,  2 Cr. App. R. (S.) 46 and was not unduly lenient.
CA (Crim Div) (Rafferty LJ, Sweeney J, Judge Kramer QC)
27 February 2014
An extended sentence of 20 years' imprisonment was appropriate for manslaughter where the defendant had also raped the victim twice, displayed a callous disregard for her and then lied, painting a false picture of what had happened, and did not have the benefit of a guilty plea.
The court upheld a conviction for manslaughter and two counts of unlawful wounding where the offender had deliberately driven into another car, resulting in the death of the driver and injury to the two passengers. Evidence given at the trial by an accident and collision investigator had not been inadmissible, and fresh evidence, which the offender claimed could undermine that evidence, did not satisfy the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 s.23(2)(b).
CA (Crim Div) (Aikens LJ, Simon J, Judge Morris QC )
13 December 2013
An indeterminate sentence was replaced by hospital orders under the provisions of the Mental Health Act 1983 s.37 and s.41 where a young ofender had killed his mother with a kitchen knife while suffering from a mental disorder. He would not continue to pose a significant risk of serious harm to members of the public occasioned by the commisssion of serious offences once his mental disorder had been cured or substantially alleviated so as to enable him to be discharged from such orders.
CA (Crim Div) (Jackson LJ, Holroyde J, Judge Milford QC)
6 December 2013
Following the amendment of the Homicide Act 1957 s.2 by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, it remained the case that medical evidence was a practical necessity if a defence of diminished responsibility was to succeed.
The court refused to apply the principle of "lurking doubt" to overturn convictions for manslaughter and murder and reiterated that the application of the principle was limited to the most exceptional circumstances.
CA (Crim Div) (Pitchford LJ, Griffith Williams J, Judge Ford QC (Recorder of Bristol))
6 June 2013
A sentence of two-and-a-half years' imprisonment was appropriate in the case of a doctor who had pleaded guilty to manslaughter after failing to take appropriate action in respect of a patient who was displaying the symptoms of a life-threatening diabetic condition.
CA (Crim Div) (Treacy LJ, Globe J, Judge Peter Collier QC (Recorder of Leeds))
9 May 2013
The jury's verdicts giving rise to three offenders' respective convictions for causing grievous bodily harm with intent, murder and manslaughter, arising out of an assault on a victim who was placed in a car which was set on fire, were not inconsistent so as to render the convictions unsafe. The different verdicts represented an assessment of the evidence by the jury in the different cases.
CA (Crim Div) (Hughes LJ, Foskett J, Judge Radford)
26 March 2013
A judge had been right to conclude that a young offender could not be fairly re-tried for murder and to stay further proceedings on that issue as an abuse of process where the young offender had been convicted of the alternative charge of manslaughter and the jury had been unable to reach a verdict on murder.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Judge LCJ, Rafferty LJ, Simon J)
26 March 2013
In upholding three convictions for murder, the court considered the application of the loss of control defence in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 s.54 and s.55 in the context of violence offered to or feared by a defendant. The qualifying trigger necessary for that defence under s.54(1)(b), elaborated by s.55(6)(a) and s.55(6)(b), was not available to a defendant who had deliberately sought to provide himself with an excuse to use violence by inciting, or encouraging or manufacturing a situation for that purpose.
CA (Crim Div) (Aikens LJ, Irwin J, Edward-Stuart J)
8 February 2013
A sentence of four years' imprisonment was appropriate in the case of the appellant, who had pleaded guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence after being involved in the fatal administration of heroin to a fellow drug user.
A judge had not erred in failing to given an offender credit for an offer to plead guilty to manslaughter on the ground of loss of control when charged with murder, where no plea had been entered following the prosecution's rejection of the offer and the offender had maintained his defence of self-defence. However, the eight-year sentence should have been discounted by 12 months for the eventual accepted guilty plea to manslaughter after an aborted first trial, as it meant that a second trial was not required.
The Sentencing Council Guidelines on Manslaughter by Reason of Provocation continued to provide useful guidance when determining a sentence for manslaughter on the basis of loss of control. A sentence of nine years' imprisonment was justified following a guilty plea where there had been a low degree of provocation over a short period of time and the offender had left the victim dead or seriously injured, without calling the emergency services.
CA (Crim Div) (Treacy LJ, King J, Judge McCreath (Recorder of Westminster) )
14 November 2012
R. v Carter (Stuart Leslie)  EWCA Crim 707,  2 Cr. App. R. (S.) 88 was no longer a good guide to the applicable starting point in a case of manslaughter involving the use of a knife. A term of 14 years' imprisonment, prior to a discount for a guilty plea, was appropriate for an offence of manslaughter in which the offender had stabbed the victim in response to threats to kill.
A sentence of detention for public protection was substituted for a sentence of custody for life for manslaughter where the case did not fall into the small category of cases that truly justified a life sentence.
CA (Crim Div) (Rafferty LJ, Cox J, Judge Bevan QC)
12 July 2012
The eight-year custodial term of an extended sentence imposed for an offence of "one-punch manslaughter" was manifestly excessive and was reduced to six years, notwithstanding the fact that the offence involved non-spontaneous gratuitous street violence inflicted on a wholly innocent victim.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Judge LCJ, Royce J, Griffith Williams J)
5 July 2012
A sentence of 11-and-a-half years' imprisonment imposed following a plea of guilty to manslaughter was not manifestly excessive where the offender had hidden the body and only confessed to the killing 24 years later. The fact that the sentencing regime had changed in the time since the offence took place was irrelevant to the sentencing exercise.
CA (Crim Div) (Moore-Bick LJ, Kenneth Parker J, Judge Goss QC (Recorder of Newcastle))
25 June 2012
A starting point of 10 years' imprisonment was appropriate for an offence of manslaughter involving a degree of provocation which fell significantly below what could properly be described as "substantial" and marginally above "low" in the sentencing guidelines.
There was no proper basis on which a judge could conclude that an offender convicted of manslaughter by reason of provocation was dangerous, as the effect of the jury's verdict was that his loss of control was reasonable. In relying on a pre-sentence report inconsistent with that verdict, the judge effectively went behind the jury's verdict.
CA (Crim Div) (Sir John Thomas (President), Griffith Williams J, Sharp J)
24 January 2012
While there had been conflicting expert opinion about the probable cause of death of the appellant's baby, the judge's summing up made it clear to the jury that they could not convict the appellant of manslaughter unless they were sure that the death had been caused in the manner alleged by the prosecution.
It was not necessary for judges passing sentence for diminished responsibility manslaughter to set out an exact arithmetical computation of the sentence which would have been passed for a murder conviction. Whether or not the computation was set out, it provided a helpful method of approach, identifying the aggravating and mitigating features, and then applying an appropriate discount for the defendant's reduced level of culpability. That was a fact-specific decision, to be made by the judge, consistently with the medical evidence and the jury verdict, and then publicly explained.
CA (Crim Div) (Richards LJ, Calvert Smith J, Underhill J)
23 November 2011
Although two prosecution witnesses had been told too much by the police about the reasons for the appellant's retrial for manslaughter, and an anonymity order in respect of one of the witnesses had not been necessary to protect him or his family, the retrial was fair and the conviction was safe. The appellant's 16-year custodial sentence did not, however, take sufficient account of the fact that he had been the passenger in a vehicle that had run over and killed the victim, and as such was less culpable than the driver. A sentence higher than 14 years' imprisonment could not be justified.
The case of R. v Mendez (Reece)  EWCA Crim 516,  Q.B. 876 did not represent a departure from the established line of authority from R. v Roberts (Stephen)  EWCA Crim 1389 that the participant who lacked the requisite state of mind for murder might nonetheless be guilty of manslaughter.
CA (Crim Div) (Rix LJ, Stadlen J, Judge Stephens QC)
18 July 2011
A sentence of two years and eight months' imprisonment was not manifestly excessive where an offender had pleaded guilty to gross negligence manslaughter. Attorney General's Reference (Nos 60, 62 and 63 of 2009), Re  EWCA Crim 2693,  2 Cr. App. R. (S.) 46 had created a step change in the tariff of sentencing in cases of unlawful act manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter, each of which ultimately rested on its own facts and by reference to a proper consideration of the fatal consequences of the offence.
In a case where a large group of defendants had been split for practical reasons into more than one trial, the judge had been wrong to rule that there was no case to answer on a charge of murder against a defendant in the second trial on the basis that a guilty verdict on that count would be inconsistent with the verdicts reached during the first trial.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Judge LCJ, Leveson LJ, Bean J)
16 June 2011
A sentence of five years' imprisonment following a plea of guilty to manslaughter by reason of provocation was unduly lenient as the judge had not taken into account the aggravating features and had given too much credit for the guilty plea.
Where a heroin addict died of an overdose in circumstances where he had expressly asked another drug user to inject him; where the other user had not sought out the deceased in order to do so; and where the deceased had had a particular reason for not wanting to inject himself, it was immaterial to the issue of culpability that the drugs had been supplied by the deceased himself, rather than by the person administering them.
CA (Crim Div) (Moore-Bick LJ, Rafferty J, MacDuff J)
20 April 2011
Even though crimes which resulted in death were to be treated more seriously following the introduction of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, a sentence of three-and-a-half years' imprisonment for manslaughter where no harm had been intended to the victim was manifestly excessive.
When sentencing for manslaughter, the judge had been right to make findings of dangerousness for the purposes of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and sentence the offenders to imprisonment for public protection. It would be rare for the Court of Appeal to receive new psychological assessments that were not before the trial judge when considering an issue under the dangerousness provisions
A conviction for manslaughter was quashed to avoid substantial injustice where there had been a post-conviction change in the law in respect of situations where a person had been involved in the supply of a Class A drug which was then freely and voluntarily self-administered by the person to whom it was supplied causing his or her death.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Judge LCJ, Henriques J, Davis J)
2 March 2011
A sentence of three-and-a-half years' imprisonment imposed on a man who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his four-month-old son was unduly lenient and was replaced by a sentence of five years' imprisonment, in light of the decision in R. v Burridge (Michael Dennis)  EWCA Crim 2847,  2 Cr. App. R. (S.) 27.
PC (Gren) (Lord Phillips, Lady Hale, Lord Brown, Lord Kerr, Lord Dyson)
23 February 2011
A fair trial did not demand a fresh jury in a murder trial following one defendant's mid-trial plea of guilty to manslaughter. In the circumstances, there had been no unfairness which could be seen to result from the remaining defendant being tried by the original jury.
A sentence of three years' detention in a young offenders institution was not manifestly excessive for "one-punch manslaughter" where the punch had been a full force punch and had not been a justifiable reaction to provocative or unreasonable behaviour.
The Sentencing Council's definitive guideline: Manslaughter by Reason of Provocation, issued in November 2005, was not to be relied upon at the exclusion of other considerations. The interests of justice required that subsequent legislature and legal authorities must all be taken into account when determining sentence. Sentencing guidance did not diminish the authority of the court or the weight to be attached to its sentencing decisions or sentencing policy.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Chief Justice, Calvert-Smith J, Griffith Williams J)
9 December 2010
Sentences of 14 years' imprisonment and detention for public protection with a minimum term of six years, imposed on two offenders following convictions of conspiracy to rob and manslaughter, were unduly lenient. The robbery of the manager of a store had been carefully planned and the manslaughter committed by the use of a knife. The 14 year sentence was increased to 18 years and the sentence of detention for public protection was ordered to run consecutively with a sentence previously imposed for an offence of murder.
CA (Crim Div) (Leveson LJ, Davis J, Lloyd Jones J)
20 September 2010
A sentencing judge had not been wrong in principle in concluding that an offender convicted of attempted murder and manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility still bore a significant responsibility for the offences. Public safety justified imposing a hybrid order under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.45A comprising imprisonment and a hospital restriction order.
PC (Bze) (Lord Saville, Lord Rodger, Lord Collins, Lord Clarke, Sir Christopher Rose)
21 July 2010
The test of loss of self-control as a partial defence to murder under the Criminal Code 2000 (Belize) s.119(b) was entirely subjective. An instruction to a jury to consider whether a reasonable person would have lost self-control was therefore a misdirection.
CA (Crim Div) (Laws LJ, Christopher Clarke J, Judge Andrew Gilbart QC (Recorder of Manchester))
21 July 2010
A conviction for murder was unsafe where in summing up the trial judge had not adequately directed the jury as to the issue of provocation so that it was possible that the jury might have considered the issue of provocation too narrowly.
In a hearing of three joined appeals involving shaken baby syndrome, the Court of Appeal gave detailed guidance on case management, particularly the management of expert evidence and on the content of the summing up.
The convictions of two offenders for murder and manslaughter were safe as the judge had correctly allowed evidence of bad character to be adduced and had correctly directed the jury in relation to that evidence.
CA (Crim Div) (Pitchford LJ, Rafferty J, Judge Goldstone QC)
19 May 2010
A sentence of 21 months' imprisonment was appropriate in an egg shell skull case of manslaughter where the victim had died during a domestic argument involving the intemperate throwing of a television remote control which made contact at a precise point where she had a previously unknown, unusual medical vulnerability. The offender had previous convictions for violence but had shown remorse and entered an early guilty plea.
CA (Crim Div) (Stanley Burnton LJ, Maddison J, Sir Christopher Holland)
18 May 2010
A minimum term of six years' imprisonment, following a sentence of imprisonment for public protection, imposed on an offender convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of provocation, was excessive. The provocation had been substantial and the appropriate minimum term was one of four years six months.
In sentencing for manslaughter where there was a lack of murderous intent, there was no inconsistency by the judge in referring to the influence of an offender's character on his actions or the potential for his actions to cause serious injury.
A judge making an order under the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 s.28 disqualifying a defendant from working with children had no power to distinguish between young children or those who were nearly adults. A disqualification order prevented a recipient from working with any child under the age of 18 and could not be varied to specify, for example, that it applied only to children under five years of age.
CA (Crim Div) (Moore-Bick LJ, Silber J, Kenneth Parker J)
17 March 2010
Three men had been part of a joint enterprise to cause really serious harm to another group of men; their various convictions for murder, manslaughter and grievous bodily harm with intent were safe as the judge had been right not to risk confusing the jury with directions per R. v English (Philip)  1 A.C. 1 or R. v Brown (Kevin) (1984) 1 B.C.C. 98970. An apparent inconsistency in the verdicts had a rational explanation.
CA (Crim Div) (Aikens LJ, Field J, Judge Stephens QC)
1 March 2010
The Criminal Justice Act 2003 Sch.15A para.10 included joint possession of a firearm in the course of a joint enterprise robbery but it had to be established or admitted that the offender was a party to the robbery which to his knowledge involved the possession of a firearm or imitation firearm by one or more of those involved in the robbery.
Various convictions of murder, manslaughter and violent disorder and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent that arose out of a group attack that resulted in a fatal stabbing were upheld. The sentences for murder and violent disorder and conspiracy were quashed.
CA (Crim Div) (Hooper LJ, Openshaw J, Judge Cooke QC (Recorder of Cardiff))
11 February 2010
Where the offender's defence to a charge of murder was one of accident and the jury had been directed that they could only convict if they were sure that she had acted deliberately and in a pre-planned way, there was no room for a verdict of manslaughter or any consideration of provocation. It was either murder or nothing.
CA (Crim Div) (Moore-Bick LJ, Silber J, Kenneth Parker J)
11 February 2010
A sentence of life imprisonment with a minimum term of nine years was not manifestly excessive where an offender had been convicted of murder after kicking his victim in the head as hard as he could. Although a co-defendant who had struck the victim during the same attack, without intending to cause really serious harm, had received a much shorter sentence of three-and-a-half years' detention for an offence of manslaughter, that reflected the difference in culpability between them.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Chief Justice, Penry-Davey J, Irwin J)
10 February 2010
A sentence of 20 months' detention imposed on a young offender for manslaughter was unduly lenient and was replaced with a sentence of three-and-a-half years' detention where the offender, in the absence of provocation, delivered a single punch to the side of the victim's head with full force, resulting in the victim's death.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Judge LCJ, Penry-Davey J, Irwin J)
2 February 2010
When directing a jury in relation to whether a defendant's mental responsibility for his actions was substantially impaired for the purposes of the defence of diminished responsibility, it was necessary for the judge to convey the plain meaning of the Homicide Act 1957 s.2(1). There was no uncertainty or ambiguity in the language of the statute.
A mother's conviction for the murder of her three-year-old son was quashed and replaced with a verdict of manslaughter where there was no evidence on the basis of which the jury could reasonably decide whether she had the intent to kill or to cause really serious harm on the one hand, or the lesser mental intent which was sufficient for manslaughter on the other hand.
CA (Crim Div) (Hooper LJ, Wyn Williams J, Recorder of Croydon)
29 January 2010
In imposing a sentence of 11 years' imprisonment for manslaughter, the judge had properly assessed the degree of provocation which the defendant had faced.
CA (Crim Div) (Laws LJ, Beatson J, Blake J)
28 January 2010
A conviction for manslaughter was unsafe as a judge had changed his direction to the jury after it had retired to deliberate the verdict and had presented the jury with a scenario that had not been tested during the trial.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Judge LCJ, Thomas LJ, Hughes LJ (V-P), Simon J, Royce J)
18 December 2009
When sentencing for manslaughter following a violent attack on a defenceless victim in the street, specific attention should be paid to the consequences of the crime. Crimes which resulted in death should be treated more seriously.
CA (Crim Div) (Goldring LJ, Foskett J, Recorder of Norwich)
3 December 2009
In convicting a defendant for manslaughter and conspiracy to commit arson with intent to endanger life, a jury was not required to consider expert evidence as to whether or not the defendant had personally poured petrol through the letterbox of a house during a group arson attack, where they had found the defendant to be part of a joint enterprise to set fire to the house.
Care had to be taken to avoid the risk of a double level of mitigation where an offender's culpability had been reduced from murder to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, as there was a danger of double-counting the absence of premeditation or intention to kill.
Sentences of three years' imprisonment for manslaughter, imposed upon offenders who had punched the victim and then pushed him into a river, were lenient but were not outside the proper range of sentences in the circumstances.
CA (Crim Div) (Hughes LJ (V-P), David Clarke J, Judge Morris QC)
22 October 2009
When a discretionary life sentence was passed following a guilty plea to manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility, it was inappropriate to direct that no minimum term be specified on the basis that the defendant might never cease to be a danger to the public.
CA (Crim Div) (Hooper LJ, Etherton LJ, Cranston J)
20 August 2009
The sentences of five young offenders convicted of the murder or manslaughter of a single victim in a group attack were reduced where the sentencing judge had incorrectly identified premeditation as an aggravating feature, although there was no evidence to suggest that the attack had been pre-planned.
CA (Crim Div) (Aikens LJ, Holman J, Judge Bevan QC)
27 July 2009
The issue whether an abnormality of mind was such as substantially impaired the mental responsibility of the accused for his acts in doing or being party to a killing was a question of degree and essentially one for the jury. Where there was ample evidence upon which a jury had concluded that a defendant's schizophrenia had not substantially impaired his mental responsibility for carrying out a fatal attack, its verdict that he was guilty of murder was safe.
CA (Crim Div) (Hallett LJ, Foskett J, Slade J DBE)
17 July 2009
A sentence of four years' imprisonment imposed for manslaughter, where an offender had killed his uncle as the result of putting him in a headlock following considerable provocation, was not manifestly excessive.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Judge LCJ, Thomas LJ, Treacy J)
14 July 2009
The court set out the factors to be considered in determining whether to admit fresh evidence, under the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 s.23, concerning an appellant's mental condition at the time of killings and whether that evidence demonstrated that he had suffered from an abnormality of mind within the meaning of the Homicide Act 1957 s.2, thus rendering a conviction for murder unsafe and requiring its substitution by a conviction for manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
CA (Crim Div) (Keene LJ, Dobbs J, Judge Stokes QC Recorder of Nottingham )
6 July 2009
Whilst a defendant had been predisposed to develop a mental disorder, fresh evidence on appeal failed to demonstrate that she had been suffering from such abnormality of mind as substantially impaired her mental responsibility for her acts at the time she had killed her mother, and her conviction for murder, rather than manslaughter, was therefore safe.
In the light of R. v Kennedy (Simon)  UKHL 38,  1 A.C. 269, the deceased appellant's conviction for the manslaughter of a woman who had died of a heroin overdose in his presence had to be quashed.
CA (Crim Div) (Keene LJ, Dobbs J DBE, Recorder of Nottingham)
1 July 2009
A sentence of imprisonment for public protection with a minimum term of 21 months was appropriate in the case of an offence of single-punch manslaughter where the offender had a previous conviction for significant violence, was unable to resolve conflict and disagreement without resorting to violence, and presented a high risk of reoffending and of causing harm to the public.
A sentence of five years' imprisonment imposed on an offender for manslaughter was unduly lenient and was increased to eight years as it was more serious than one-blow manslaughter and the violence was a consequence of drink and drugs.
Where a group of youths had been involved in a fatal stabbing and there was an issue about who had dealt the fatal blow, the judge had correctly left the offence of manslaughter for the jury to consider because the youths knew that one of them had a Stanley knife and intended to cause death or serious injury. The fact that the fatal blow had been struck with a different type of knife was not of a fundamentally different character to a blow with a Stanley knife so as to take the events out of the joint enterprise.
CA (Crim Div) (Hallett LJ, Andrew Smith J, Slade J)
20 May 2009
It was doubtful whether there was a general rule that where there was a causal link between an offender's mental illness and his offence, and the nature of the illness made it appropriate for him to be detained in hospital, a hospital order should be made under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.37 . Even if there was such a rule, a prison sentence was still an alternative.
CA (Crim Div) (Hughes LJ (V-P) , Holroyde J, Sir Christopher Holland)
20 May 2009
An appellant who had been convicted of murder in circumstances where he had pleaded guilty to manslaughter failed in his appeal against conviction where he alleged that his legal advisers had been wrong to advise him not to give evidence at trial and where he criticised the judge's summing up. The advice he had been given was faultless and the judge's summing up perfectly adequate. Summing up was not written for people who come to the case at a later stage; what mattered in a summing up was whether the issues for the jury were sufficiently identified at the time.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Judge LCJ, Aikens LJ, Mackay J, Christopher Clarke J, Holroyde J)
2 April 2009
Although there was no express statutory link between the guidance concerning minimum term in relation to mandatory life sentence in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 Sch.21 and the principles to be applied to sentencing decisions in diminished responsibility manslaughter, there was no logical reason why, subject to the specific element of reduced culpability inherent in the defence of diminished responsibility, the assessment of the seriousness of the offence should ignore the guidance.
CA (Crim Div) (Moses LJ, Hedley J, Judge Anthony Russell QC Recorder of Preston)
16 February 2009
The minimum term of a sentence of imprisonment for public protection imposed following a late plea of guilty to manslaughter was reduced from five-and-a-half years to four-and-a-half years as the original sentence had been at the top of the range for deliberate arson resulting in death. On the information that he had, the judge was correct to find the offender dangerous, as his lack of concern for the effect of his actions and his unpredictability made him dangerous.
Where there was no evidence of the secondary party to a murder having envisaged the shooting which resulted in the death of the victim causing only minor harm, there was no basis for a manslaughter verdict and the possibility of such a verdict did not have to be left to the jury.
A sentence of 18 months' imprisonment imposed on an offender who had pleaded guilty to manslaughter was unduly lenient and was increased to three years' imprisonment as the offender had a history of previous offences consistent with yobbish behaviour, was on bail and subject to a community order at the time of the offence and an innocent man had died due to his gratuitous violence.
CA (Crim Div) (Pill LJ, Sweeney J, Sir Christopher Holland)
18 December 2008
A person suffering from paranoid schizophrenia had been fit to plead, but new evidence on appeal demonstrated that he had been suffering from such abnormality of mind as substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his acts in killing the deceased.
CA (Crim Div) (Hooper LJ, Plender J, Sir Peter Cresswell)
28 November 2008
A sentence of imprisonment for public protection with a minimum term of four-and-a-half years imposed under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.225 for manslaughter arising from an assault which occurred before the Act came into force did not infringe the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.7 since it was not heavier than the penalty which could have been imposed in 2003, the maximum sentence then being life imprisonment.
A sentence of imprisonment for public protection with a minimum term of six years and two weeks imposed for manslaughter and wounding with intent was replaced with a sentence of detention for public protection with a minimum term of six years owing to the offender's age. Apart from that, the judge's reasoning and conclusions were sound, and the fact that the victims had thrown things at the offender's house was properly categorised as low provocation.
CA (Crim Div) (Sir Igor Judge (President QB), Simon J, Akenhead J)
31 July 2008
Sentences of five-and-a-half years' imprisonment imposed on two offenders for manslaughter, which was the consequence of persistent violent bullying and recklessness, were unduly lenient and did not sufficiently reflect the required elements of punishment and deterrence. Sentences of seven-and-a-half-years' imprisonment were substituted.
CA (Civ Div) (Sir Mark Potter (President Fam), May LJ, Hughes LJ)
15 July 2008
The presumption of innocence under the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.6(2) only applied to criminal proceedings and did not apply to claims for compensation for a miscarriage of justice under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 s.133 .
CA (Crim Div) (Latham LJ (VP CA Crim), Irwin J, Coulson J)
10 July 2008
The appellants' convictions for manslaughter, for their acts of preparing and passing heroin to an addict who then self-administered the drug and died, were quashed in light of the decision in R. v Kennedy (Simon)  UKHL 38,  1 A.C. 269.
CA (Crim Div) (Sir Igor Judge (President QB), Aikens J, Swift J)
20 June 2008
At the murder trial of a defendant who suffered from alcohol dependency syndrome the judge had misdirected the jury when addressing a verdict of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility as he had implied that unless the jury were of the opinion that every drink consumed by the defendant was involuntary his alcohol dependency syndrome had to be disregarded.
CA (Crim Div) (Hughes LJ, Andrew Smith J, Judge Loraine-Smith)
13 June 2008
A judge had been correct to sentence a group of young offenders to lengthy minimum terms following their convictions for the murder of a rival gang member. Such long sentences had to act as a deterrent to gangland warfare and make it clear that long sentences would always follow such blatant and chilling offences.
CA (Crim Div) (Forbes J, Roderick Evans J, Thomas LJ)
11 June 2008
The proper course of action, before pursuing an appeal against a criminal conviction based on an allegation against a defendant's counsel, was to take steps to ascertain counsel's position in relation to the allegation.
CA (Crim Div) (Moore-Bick LJ, Goldring J, Mackay J)
3 June 2008
A sentence of three years and nine months' imprisonment imposed following a guilty plea to an offence of manslaughter was manifestly excessive, as the offender's conduct had been reckless and stupid, but was not motivated by malice and he had not intended to harm the victim in any way. A sentence of two-and-a-half years' imprisonment was substituted.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Phillips LCJ, Wilkie J, Openshaw J)
9 April 2008
A sentence of three years' detention in a young offender institution following a guilty plea to manslaughter by a 19-year-old man with no previous convictions for violent offences, who had glorified in the success of bringing his victim to the ground with a single blow and who had continued in his aggressive behaviour by throwing bricks at a car that was subsequently looking for him, was at the high end of the appropriate scale but was not manifestly excessive.
CA (Crim Div) (Moore-Bick LJ, Openshaw J, Sir Richard Curtis)
3 April 2008
A sentence of four-and-a-half years' detention imposed for manslaughter was not excessive where a knife had been brandished during a violent confrontation but where the precise mechanics of fatal injury were unclear. Where death or serious injury resulted from confrontations involving knives, judges could be expected to pass heavy sentences.
CA (Crim Div) (Sir Igor Judge (President), Davis J, David Clarke J)
8 February 2008
Convictions for manslaughter and escape were quashed where there had been recent clarification of the law in relation to both offences and the appellants had pleaded guilty on what had emerged to be a fallacious basis.
A sentence of imprisonment for public protection had been correctly imposed upon an offender following his conviction for manslaughter; the offender remained dangerous and the sentencing judge had properly considered all the factors when imposing that sentence.
CA (Crim Div) (Latham LJ (VP CA Crim), Cooke J, Cranston J)
12 December 2007
A conviction for manslaughter was not safe where the defendant had pleaded guilty on the basis of a now-outmoded recklessness test for gross negligence manslaughter and there was fresh evidence which, had he pleaded not guilty, might have persuaded a jury applying the current test that his fault did not amount to a degree of negligence which was criminal.
Where a woman's conviction for the manslaughter of her baby son had been quashed on the basis that fresh medical evidence might have led the jury to reach a different conclusion, the requirement under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 s.133(1) that the fresh evidence demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that there had been a miscarriage of justice was not fulfilled, so she was not entitled to compensation.
It had been wrong in principle to impose sentences of detention for life on two youths aged 16 and 14 for the manslaughter of a vulnerable person where the offence was not sufficiently serious to warrant detention for life, but where a determinate sentence was not adequate for the purpose of protecting the public. The sentences were accordingly varied to sentences of detention for public protection with the specified minimum periods remaining.
A sentence of imprisonment for public protection with a minimum specified term of two years was appropriate following a plea of guilty to manslaughter by a defendant who had a number of previous convictions for violence and whose behaviour in the index offence had carried with it an obvious and real risk of serious harm.
CA (Crim Div) (Moses LJ, Treacy J, Sir Michael Wright)
26 July 2007
A sentence of eight years' imprisonment was not manifestly excessive for an offence of manslaughter by gross negligence where the offender had driven over the victim in his heavy goods vehicle and had then done little to assist her. His callous behaviour after the incident was a serious aggravating feature in determining sentence.
An appeal against conviction for manslaughter was allowed where there was no causal link between the assaults of the appellant on the victim prior to the appellant's departure from the scene and the violence inflicted by the co-defendants on the victim following the appellant's departure. The final act of drowning the victim was a new and intervening act in the chain of events and was fundamentally different to what the appellant had contemplated.
Where a 67-year-old man and his partner had been robbed in their own home, threatened with weapons and punched, a five-year sentence of imprisonment was appropriate, taking into account an early guilty plea and double jeopardy; and, where one blow to the head resulted in the death eight days later of the 67-year-old man, a concurrent sentence of five years' detention was appropriate for manslaughter, taking into account the guilty plea, the offender's age of 20 years and double jeopardy.
The fresh evidence of a psychiatrist that an appellant, who had pleaded guilty to murder several years earlier, had suffered from a personality disorder which amounted to an abnormality of mind did not cast doubt on the safety of the conviction and should not be admitted.
CA (Crim Div) (Rix LJ, Ramsey J, Judge Stewart QC)
2 May 2007
An offender who had committed manslaughter by stabbing the victim in the leg during a drunken fight and had committed previous specified offences would nevertheless not pose a significant risk of serious harm where it was the first time he had committed serious harm, had not intended to do so and had resolved to put his drinking behind him.
CA (Crim Div) (Rix LJ, Ramsey J, Sir Richard Curtis)
26 April 2007
Where there had been a previous conviction for a relevant offence, it would be unreasonable to conclude that the assumption of dangerousness under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.229(3) applied where there was no pattern of behaviour, the offender's personal life was stable, and the pre-sentence report assessed him as not meeting the criteria of dangerousness.
A sentence of detention for public protection imposed for manslaughter was appropriate where a significant risk of serious harm from future specified offences was suggested by a pattern of behaviour in the defendant's offending.
A sentence of six years' detention for manslaughter was not manifestly excessive in circumstances where a young offender had deliberately armed herself with a knife, used the knife and tried to cover up what had happened.
Concurrent sentences of eight years' detention in a young offender institution for convictions for manslaughter and arson with intent to endanger life had been unduly lenient where they had failed adequately to reflect clear public policy that it was necessary to impose severe sentences in cases of family revenge attacks.
CA (Crim Div) (Hughes LJ, Rafferty J, Sir Charles Mantell)
17 January 2007
Two offenders' convictions were safe despite the fact that the jury had conducted its own research and considered extraneous material after they had retired, since the information contained within that material was insufficient to have influenced the jury in its verdicts. A breach by a jury was not necessarily fatal to the safety of a conviction and should be considered in the context of the case overall.
In the circumstances, the appellant had not given any reasonable explanation for the failure to adduce appropriate medical evidence as to his mental condition at the time of his trial for murder and it was neither necessary nor expedient in the interests of justice to admit it on appeal.
A judge erred in failing to mark the severity of an unprovoked and gratuitous offence of manslaughter that was committed in the course of a burglary in order to facilitate an escape and in failing to impose a sentence of imprisonment for public protection.
CA (Crim Div) (Tuckey LJ, Holman J, Penry-Davey J)
24 October 2006
A sentence of two years and three months for an offence of manslaughter was unduly lenient, the judge having not taken sufficient account of the fact that the offence was racially aggravated and having failed to follow a two stage process of identifying first the sentence he would have passed if the offence had not been racially aggravated and then adding an appropriate uplift to reflect the racial element. Taking into account double jeopardy a sentence of three years was substituted.
CA (Crim Div) (Hooper LJ, Aikens J, Lloyd-Jones J)
19 October 2006
An offender's display of aggression and lack of self-control justified a finding of dangerousness quite independently of the statutory assumption arising from previous specified offences committed by him.
A judge had been correct to leave the issue of drawing adverse inferences to a properly directed jury where the evidence against a defendant was circumstantial. A charge of perverting the course of justice arising out of the facts of the primary offence was not frivolous where there had been a positive act of concealment.
HL (Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Hutton, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord Mance)
19 July 2006
Save in exceptional circumstances, an appellate court should quash a conviction, whether for murder or for a lesser offence, as constituting a serious miscarriage of justice where a judge had erred in failing to leave to the jury, irrespective of the wishes of trial counsel, any lesser alternative verdict which there was evidence to support.
The claimant who had been convicted of the manslaughter of his mother could not escape the consequences of the Forfeiture Act 1982 s.2 but could receive benefit under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 s.2 , which should be interpreted in line with current rules of construction and the Human Rights Act 1998 .
A judge had not erred in imposing an indeterminate sentence following a conviction for manslaughter where a probation officer considered that the offender, despite having no previous convictions for serious offences of violence, posed a high risk of committing specified offences in the future.
A sentence of 10 years' detention for an unprovoked attack on an elderly Asian man that caused his death was justified on the basis that the offence was racially motivated, and offences of that kind had to receive longer sentences in order to deter others.
CA (Crim Div) (Sir Igor Judge (President), Henriques J, Fulford J)
16 May 2006
The line established in both criminal and civil case-law drawing a clear distinction between recognisable psychiatric injury and other states of mind had been confirmed by the House of Lords, and any blurring of it or degree of elasticity introduced into it would create an element of uncertainty about the true ambit of the relevant legal principles to which the concept of "bodily harm" in the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 applied.
CA (Crim Div) (Rix LJ, Mackay J, Judge Goddard QC)
15 May 2006
In the circumstances, it was necessary and expedient in the interests of justice to admit fresh evidence of mental illness that was not relied on at trial and that pointed to a new defence of diminished responsibility. In view of the fresh evidence a conviction for murder was quashed and a verdict of manslaughter was substituted.
CA (Crim Div) (Richards LJ, Penry-Davey J, Judge Goddard QC)
12 April 2006
Convictions for manslaughter were unsafe where fresh medical evidence that contradicted the prosecution expert evidence might have led the jury to reach a different conclusion about whether adoptive parents had unlawfully administered a large amount of salt to a child.
The cumulative effect of a judge's misdirections both as to the law in relation to murder and manslaughter and as to the relevance of evidence of the appellant's bad character was such as to render unsafe his convictions for murder and arson.
CA (Crim Div) (Dyson LJ, Tomlinson J, Andrew Smith J)
26 January 2006
There was no reason to quash a discretionary life sentence with a hospital and limitation direction under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.45A , and to substitute for it a hospital order under s.37 and s.41 of the Act where the offender, who had pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility and had been diagnosed with a pathological borderline personality disorder, had been later diagnosed with a mental illness also. A s.45A order did not, by its terms, preclude its application in cases where the offender suffered from both, and gave a better measure of control without impeding the offender's treatment.
A sentence of five years' imprisonment for a conviction for manslaughter and a plea of preventing a lawful burial was not unduly lenient because the sentence imposed was an entirely appropriate sentence in totality and arguably in its constituent parts.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Phillips LCJ, Cresswell J, Mackay J)
30 November 2005
The scheme of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 Sch.21 was that the trial judge had first to determine the starting point and then consider whether it was appropriate to adjust the sentence upwards or downwards to take account of aggravating or mitigating factors. That approach was not possible in respect of a whole life order. A whole life order should be imposed where the seriousness of the offending was so exceptionally high that just punishment required the offender to be kept in prison for the rest of his life.
Court not applicable (Judge not applicable)
28 November 2005
Sentencing guidelines applying to offenders convicted of manslaughter by reason of provocation after November 28, 2005 were issued in accordance with the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.170(9) .
In view of the evidence and the manner in which the case was presented by the Crown, the jury verdicts convicting the offender of murder and his co-accused of manslaughter were ones which no reasonable jury, that had applied its mind to the facts of the case, could have reached. The offender's conviction for murder was set aside and replaced with a conviction for manslaughter.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Phillips LCJ, Rafferty J, Mackay J)
26 October 2005
The decision in R v O'Grady (1987) QB 995 that where a defendant sought to establish the defence of self defence it was not open to him to rely on a mistake induced by voluntary intoxication, applied equally to cases of manslaughter and murder.
The court expressed concern regarding the extent to which R v Frisby (2002) 1 Cr App R (S) 68 should be followed. Since the enactment of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and the approach to be adopted when sentencing for murder, whereby the disposal of a body could form an aggravating feature, it was possible that the disposal of the body could also form an aggravating feature when sentencing for manslaughter offences.
A new hypothesis seeking to show that the conventional triad of intracranial injuries was not diagnostic of non-accidental head injury in infants was not credible. Four appeals heard together demonstrated that cases of alleged non-accidental head injury in infants were fact-specific and had to be determined on their individual facts.
Actions of a principal party causing the death of a victim were outside the scope of joint enterprise where those actions were fundamentally different to what was contemplated by a secondary party. In the instant case although the actions of the principal were contemplated by the offender, the judge's direction failed to focus the jury's mind on the question of whether the offender had withdrawn from the joint venture at the time when the fatal blows were struck, and therefore the offender's conviction for manslaughter was unsafe.
Convictions for murder following a trial were not rendered unsafe by reason of the fact that the prosecution had subsequently accepted pleas of guilty to manslaughter from others involved in the same incident.
CA (Crim Div) (Scott Baker LJ, Gloster J, Judge Mettyear)
13 July 2005
Where a jury convicted an appellant for murder after having been directed as to the law on provocation in accordance with a precedent which was wider than the one that superseded it, it was inconceivable that the same jury would have come to any other conclusion had they been directed on the law of provocation in accordance with the subsequent tighter definition.
CA (Crim Div) (Hooper LJ, Grigson J, Sir Charles Mantell)
13 July 2005
The law relating to joint enterprise, in particular whether an act was the cause of a joint venture, was clearly laid down in R. v Powell (Anthony Glassford) (1999) 1 AC 1, and cases which were inconsistent with Powell should no longer be regarded as good law to that extent.
PC (Jer) (Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Scott of Foscote, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Baroness Hale of Richmond, Lord Carswell)
15 June 2005
Parliament adopted a uniform, objective standard of self-control in the Homicide Act 1957 s.3 and evidence that the defendant was suffering from chronic alcoholism was not a matter to be taken into account by the jury when considering whether, having regard to the actual provocation and their view of its gravity, a person having ordinary powers of self-control would have done what the defendant did.
PC (Trin) (Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord Slynn of Hadley, Lord Hutton, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Sir Andrew Leggatt)
11 May 2005
Although there had been a misdirection on the admissibility of evidence at the appellants' murder trial, the first appellant's conviction for murder was safe as there was powerful corroboration of evidence identifying him. The second appellant's conviction for manslaughter was unsafe as the Court of Appeal had no justification for substituting a verdict of manslaughter for his murder conviction.
PC (Jam) (Lord Steyn, Lord Slynn of Hadley, Lord Hutton, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord Carswell)
13 April 2005
In jurisdictions, such as Jamaica, where the statutory offence of causing death by reckless driving continued to co-exist along with the common law crime of manslaughter, it was important that juries should ordinarily be made aware of the existence of the lesser offence and it would be proper to charge both offences and direct the jury how to distinguish between them. The standard for a verdict of motor manslaughter was that the risk of death being caused by the manner of the driving was very high, and where a Jamaican defendant's driving did not reach that standard a conviction for causing death by dangerous driving was substituted.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Woolf of Barnes LCJ, Davis J, Field J)
17 March 2005
Where an offender had been involved in the supply of a controlled drug that was then self-administered by the person to whom it was supplied, resulting in their death, it was appropriate to find the offender guilty of manslaughter if the jury was satisfied that, when the drug was handed by the offender to the deceased "for immediate injection", both parties were engaged in the one activity of administering the drug.
CA (Crim Div) (Latham LJ, Gloster J, Judge Zucker QC)
7 March 2005
On a "not guilty" plea a sentence of two to three years' detention was appropriate for manslaughter caused by one blow severe enough to cause the victim to fall over but the court would not interfere with a sentence of eighteen months' detention taking account of double jeopardy. A sentence of four months' detention was unduly lenient in respect of an attempt to cause grievous bodily harm with a kick to the head or armpit but the court would not interfere in the particular circumstances of the case.
The judge had been in the best position to assess the culpability of the defendant and his co-accused employers where the defendant had driven a poorly maintained HGV knowing the brakes to be defective and had killed a pedestrian. In the circumstances, a sentence of 12 months' imprisonment following a plea of guilty to manslaughter was not unduly lenient.
Despite fresh material that had come to light, subsequent to the appellant's plea of guilty to manslaughter, that the primary prosecution witness was facing possible charges for providing false information in an unrelated incident, the judge had been entitled to refuse the appellant's application to vacate his guilty plea on the basis that it was a public and voluntary acceptance by him that he had taken part in an unlawful attack.
In all the circumstances a sentence of seven years in a young offender institution for a 19 year old defendant for offences of manslaughter and theft were manifestly excessive as the starting point had been too high.
A sentence of three years for the manslaughter of the defendant's baby daughter was in all the circumstances lenient. However, it was doubtful that it could be classed as unduly lenient as the appropriate sentence in the court below would have been between three years six months and four years.
In the circumstances the sentences of nine years six months and ten years following the appellants' pleas of guilty to robbery, handling stolen goods and manslaughter, in respect of street robberies of elderly vulnerable victims who had been specifically targeted, were not manifestly excessive and reflected the overall criminality of each appellant.
Convictions for gross negligence manslaughter could not be regarded as safe where the judge had failed to summarise the appellants' defence when summing up. Further, the acquittal of a co-defendant rendered the verdicts inconsistent.
In all the circumstances a sentence of two years and six months for an offence of manslaughter was unduly lenient; it was clear the judge had been unduly influenced by the defendant's mitigation and had paid too little regard to the seriousness of the offence. The sentence would be increased to three years and six months.
CA (Crim Div) (Hooper LJ, Grigson J, Stanley Burnton J)
20 August 2004
Despite the mitigating circumstances it had to be recognised that a jury had found the defendant guilty of manslaughter by arson being reckless to life, in those circumstances there would be a one-year reduction in a four-year custodial sentence in a young offender's institution.
A sentence of six years following a plea of guilty to manslaughter was unduly lenient given that the defendant disputed the manner of death and had committed a serious sexual assault on the victim. A longer than commensurate sentence of nine years would be passed to protect the public as the defendant had numerous previous convictions for violent offences.
The elements of the common law offence of misconduct in a public office were: (i) a public officer acting as such; (ii) wilfully neglected to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducted himself; (iii) to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in the officeholder; (iv) without reasonable excuse or justification.
CA (Crim Div) (Hooper LJ, Roderick Evans J, Cooke J)
2 April 2004
The defendant's conviction for murder would be quashed and manslaughter substituted as the judge failed to draw to the jury's attention to various accounts given to doctors by the defendant that could have supported provocation andor diminished responsibility.
Where the appellant was facing a sentence for manslaughter and robbery, revulsion at the viciousness of the attack by the co-accused, which led to the victim's death, should not have been reflected in her sentence given her lack of intention that it should occur.
A sentence of seven years' imprisonment for manslaughter on the grounds of provocation was unduly lenient, whilst the custodial sentence was entirely correct an extended licence period of 21 months should have been imposed under Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 s.85 .
In all the circumstances, a sentence of 18 months' imprisonment for manslaughter was manifestly excessive. However there was no provocation that could provide exceptional circumstances to justify a suspended sentence. The sentence would be quashed and one of nine months' imprisonment substituted.
HL (Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Steyn, Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough, Lord Scott of Foscote, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry)
18 December 2003
Where two defendants were jointly charged with a crime and each blamed the other for its commission, one accused could rely on the more significant criminal propensity of the other in order to prove his innocence.
The Court of Appeal had no jurisdiction to hear the Crown's appeal against a ruling made by the trial judge at a preparatory hearing, as that ruling brought the proceedings to an end and was not within the ambit of s.29(2) Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996.
Following a series of violent offences where the defendant fled to Spain and fought extradition of his own volition, on the facts, the UK courts did not have to take into account the period spent in custody whilst awaiting extradition. The totality of a sentence of 18 years' imprisonment was manifestly excessive and would be reduced to 14 years.
On the facts it was open for the jury to convict the defendant of unlawful act manslaughter where the defendant prepared heroin for the victim but did not inject her with it. The test was whether each of the parties had done an act that was a cause of the actus reus.
The appeal against conviction for murder failed as the appellant was properly convicted according to the law in 1955 when she committed the offence. The trial judge correctly withdrew the issue of provocation from the jury.
Convictions for manslaughter were safe as the judge had been right to rule that evidence sought to be admitted under the res gestae principle had not been made spontaneously. The judge had also correctly ruled that the indictment should not be severed as, on the evidence, the counts were linked. There was sufficient evidence of a prima facie case to go before the jury.
CA (Crim Div) (Keene LJ, Roderick Evans J, Cooke J)
13 November 2003
A conviction for manslaughter was unsafe where an application to exclude evidence of confession under s.76 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, for breaches of the Codes of Practice, had been refused and it later transpired it was highly likely police officers had known the defendant had a mental impairment and an appropriate adult should have been present.
A sentence of nine years' imprisonment was not manifestly excessive for the manslaughter of a three-and-a-half month old baby.
CA (Mantell LJ, Nelson J, Jack J)
29 July 2003
In the particular circumstances of this case the court would not interfere with a sentence of three and a half years' imprisonment for manslaughter on the grounds of provocation where the defendant killed his wife and son.
A coroner had an obligation to consider whether the State's investigative duties under Art.2 European Convention on Human Rights had been complied with, and that obligation existed even if the Human Rights Act 1998 had not been in force at the date of the death. The coroner had erred in holding that there was no evidence upon which it could be argued that the police and local authority had failed to fulfil their investigative duties under Art.2.
CA (Crim Div) (Kennedy LJ, Cresswell J, Bennett J)
24 June 2003
A sentence of seven years for manslaughter was unduly lenient. Applying the factors set out in Attorney-General's Reference (Nos.19,20,21 of 2002) sub nom R v Burn & Ors to the facts of the present offence a sentence of eight-and-a-half years was appropriate.
CA (Crim Div) (Mantell LJ, Royce J, Judge Mettyear)
13 May 2003
A sentence of six years' imprisonment following a plea of guilty to manslaughter was not manifestly excessive in the circumstances, but a two-year licence period extension under s.85 Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 was quashed as unnecessary.
The parole board had erred by failing to consider the judgment of the Court of Appeal and the reports of two medical experts when considering the claimant for early release but it had remedied its own defect by a later consideration of the material and it was therefore inappropriate that its decision should be quashed.
Relief from forfeiture under the Forfeiture Act 1982 was not granted to a beneficiary who had been convicted of the manslaughter of the deceased where, having regard to the conduct of the claimant and all other material circumstances, the justice of the case did not require it.
In a case of joint enterprise the judge was wrong to direct the jury that they could only convict all the defendants of murder or all of them of manslaughter but could not convict some of murder and some of manslaughter. However, there was overwhelming evidence that the defendants were all in it together from the outset and the convictions were safe.
In deciding whether to bring a prosecution for gross negligence manslaughter, once it could be shown that there had been ordinary common law negligence causative of death and a serious risk of death, the only element left to be established was criminality or "badness". That was an element which required all the circumstances to be taken into account, many of which might cast light on the defendant's state of mind and might, if appropriate, be taken into account in the defendant's favour.
A defendant, who applied and held a tourniquet on the arm of a drug abuser injecting heroin who died as a result, had no answer to charges of administering poison so as to endanger life contrary to s.23 Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and of manslaughter.
Total sentences of six years for conspiracy to rob and manslaughter were unduly lenient given the conduct of the defendants, the extremely serious nature of the offences and the fear caused to the victim by making threats to kill his child.
CA (Crim Div) (Latham LJ, Cox J, Sir Richard Rougier)
4 March 2003
Where there was more than one defendant it was in the interests of justice that they all be tried together. The trial had to be fair to all defendants and a defendant should not be prevented from raising relevant and admissible evidence supporting a defence, even where it was prejudicial to a co-accused.
HL (Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, Lord Hutton, Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry)
27 February 2003
Even if a defendant would not have killed if he had not taken drink, a defence of diminished responsibility could be available to him if he could satisfy the jury that, despite the drink, a mental abnormality substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his fatal acts.
Where co-defendants each accused the other of having inflicted the deceased's fatal injuries, the more significant criminal record of one was relevant and admissible to show that it was more likely that he had committed the crime.
In light of fresh evidence, which indicated that the defendant was suffering from a severe personality disorder amounting to an abnormality of the mind at the time of the offence, the conviction for murder was unsafe, and a verdict of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility, would be substituted.
CA (Crim Div) (Mantell LJ, Bell J, Andrew Smith J)
20 December 2002
It was not legitimate to criticise as lenient, let alone unduly lenient, sentences which ignored or underplayed the fact that an offender had lost self-control at the time of the killing. To do so would be to suggest that the offender was guilty of murder rather than manslaughter by reason of provocation and a judge could not properly sentence an offender on such a basis. It was not a distinct aggravating feature in provocation cases that the victim was the offender's spouse or partner.
An unsuccessful appeal against conviction by a lorry driver found guilty of manslaughter after customs officials found the bodies of 58 illegal Chinese immigrants in the back of his lorry on entry to the United Kingdom. Although he was jointly involved with the immigrants in an unlawful activity, the criminal law would not decline to hold him responsible for their deaths. The appellant's sentences for each manslaughter count were increased from six to 14 years. * Application for leave to appeal to the House of Lords pending.
In a murder trial, the trial judge was in the best position to decide whether there had been a specific act of provocation so that the jury should be directed to consider a verdict of manslaughter by reason of that provocation.
There was no duty of care owed by a person leaving a drunk adult friend in a car on a hot day where the friend later died in the car because it could not have been foreseen that the friend was being exposed to the risk of death.
PC (Bah) (Lord Slynn of Hadley, Lord Steyn, Lord Hutton, Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough, Lord Rodger)
20 May 2002
A verdict for murder was quashed and substituted with a verdict of manslaughter where the trial judge's direction on murder risked confusing the jury over the ingredients of murder and manslaughter. The trial judge had been entitled to take the view that a Lucas direction was not required where the prosecution had not adduced any evidence of the truth or otherwise of the appellant's version of events and the appellant had not given evidence at trial.
CA (Crim Div) (Waller LJ, Pitchers J, Judge Crawford QC)
26 April 2002
It was vital for judges passing automatic life sentences to assess the determinate sentence and make the appropriate recommendation in open court. Whether an offender constituted an unacceptable risk to the public had to be considered at the time the sentence was passed and not at the time when the matter came before the Court of Appeal.
A conviction for manslaughter was not safe where the compartmentalisation of the appellant's defences of provocation and diminished responsibility meant that medical evidence was confined to the latter defence and by current standards the former was not adequately canvassed before the jury.
As a general rule the Crown was entitled to adduce evidence that was sufficiently relevant to an issue in the case as advanced by the Crown, but all that was irrelevant or not sufficiently relevant to the case as put should, generally speaking, be excluded, especially if it was likely to prejudice a defendant.
CA (Pill LJ, Hallett J, Davis J)
14 February 2002
Since the judgment of R v Morgan James Smith (2001) 1 Cr App R 31, a particular formula, when summing up in respect of provocation, was not now required. In most cases a summing up was not made defective if the expression "reasonable man" was used.
Where s.10(1) Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 applied to an expert's opinion obtained at the request of solicitors to a party to litigation, and where that opinion was based on privileged information and could not be separated from that privileged information, the opinion was itself privileged.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Woolf of Barnes LCJ, Mitchell J, Keith J)
22 January 2002
An 18-month sentence of imprisonment that had been deemed unduly lenient for an offence of manslaughter was not interfered with on the principle of double jeopardy and because there had been a delay in the bringing of the reference, during which time the sentence had been served.
In light of developments in case law, a mandatory life sentence was not appropriate where there was a time interval of some 30 years between the two qualifying offences under the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 s.2 and the offender presented no significant risk or continuing threat to the public. The mandatory life sentence was replaced with a sentence of three years and six months.
CA (Crim Div) (Keene LJ, Sir Richard Tucker, Judge Madison)
13 December 2001
Although the defendant had supplied the syringe containing the heroin with which the victim had killed himself, self-injection was a lawful act and, as an act, was capable of breaking the chain of causation. Consequently the defendant's conviction for manslaughter was quashed.
Even though a manslaughter had occurred by the supply of heroin without knowledge that the dose was fatal, the appellant's drug addiction meant that he would continue to present a significant risk of re-offending and could not escape the mandatory life sentence in s.109 Powers of Criminal Courts Act 2000.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Woolf of Barnes LCJ, Wright J, Grigson J)
30 October 2001
Where there was medical evidence that the appellant, who had shot at two burglars in his home and killed one of them, suffered from diminished responsibility, the conviction for murder was substituted with a conviction for manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. * Leave to appeal to the House of Lords refused.
A sentence of four years' detention in a young offender institution for an offence of manslaughter arising out of a fight outside a nightclub was manifestly excessive in view of the appellant's guilty plea, his age and his remorse. It was accordingly quashed and substituted with a detention term of two years.
Appeals against sentences for manslaughter, false imprisonment and kidnapping in a drug-dealing dispute. The sentence of one defendant was reduced from 14 years to 12 years because the death had occurred as a result of a shooting that was intended to frighten but not to cause death or physical harm.
PC (Ant) (Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Mackay, Lord Nicholls, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Clyde)
14 August 2001
Where there was evidence sufficient to establish provocation, the proviso to s.39(1) West Indies Associated States Supreme Court Act 1969 could not be applied. The defendant's murder conviction was quashed and substituted with a conviction of manslaughter because provocation had not been left to the jury.
A verdict of manslaughter was substituted for a murder conviction where there was inconclusive evidence of the time of injury to a baby who died of shaken baby syndrome and there was insufficient evidence of intent to do really serious harm.
Where the respondents had taken part in an attack on a single victim as part of a group of four attackers and had attacked the victim while he was on the floor, sentences of five-and-a-half years were not unduly lenient.
CA (Crim Div) (Buxton LJ, Holman J, Judge Beaumont QC)
12 July 2001
In determining "exceptional circumstances" within the meaning of s.2 Crime (Sentencing) Act 1997 the court had to assess whether the offender presented a risk or continuing danger to the public in order to make mandatory indeterminate sentences under that provision.
In extradition proceedings the potential issue of violation of the European Convention of Human Rights in relation to the death penalty arose when the Secretary of State for the Home Department decided whether to extradite. It was premature to raise the issue at the committal hearing. * Leave to appeal to the House of Lords refused.
PC (Gren) (Lord Slynn of Hadley, Lord Steyn, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Hutton)
26 June 2001
The judge had misdirected the jury on the burden of proof for the defence of provocation. The onus of proving that a killing was unprovoked lay on the prosecution.
A sentence of three and a half years' imprisonment for manslaughter where the appellant had frightened the victim, who had a heart condition, to death in an attack on his house was manifestly excessive and substituted with a term of two years and nine months.
Sentences of seven years' imprisonment for manslaughter caused in the course of a street robbery and five years' concurrent imprisonment for attempted robbery were unduly lenient and were replaced with a total term of 10 years, comprising nine years for manslaughter and one year for each of the attempted robberies concurrent with each other but consecutive to the term for manslaughter. The sentence of the third respondent, who was of a younger age and who had been sentenced to a two-year detention and training order concurrent on two offences of conspiracy to rob was not unduly lenient.
A total sentence of three years' imprisonment for manslaughter and nine months concurrent for doing an act tending or intended to pervert the course of justice was unduly lenient, and was substituted with a term of four years' imprisonment for manslaughter. The sentence of nine months was ordered to run consecutively.
HL (Lord Slynn of Hadley, Lord Nicholls, Lord Hope, Lord Clyde, Lord Scott)
8 March 2001
When a new charge had been laid in the magistrates' court on the last day of the custody time limit of the original charge, the true question was whether the new charge had been brought solely for the purpose of avoiding a custody time limit and the prosecutor was required to demonstrate why the bringing of the new charge was necessary. Murder and manslaughter were distinct in law and were separate offences attracting separate custody time limits.
CA (Crim Div) (Henry LJ, Hooper J, Goldring J)
29 November 2000
A direction as to circumstances where manslaughter could be found in a murder trial, given well after the jury retired and just as they were about to present their verdict, did not render a conviction for murder unsafe.
CA (Crim Div) (Poole J, Sir Brian Smedley)
21 November 2000
The defendant appealed against her sentence of four years' imprisonment for the manslaughter of her partner; her sentence was reduced because of the psychiatric effects on her three-year-old son of his father's killing and because of her separation from her baby daughter.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Woolf of Barnes LCJ, Rougier J, Bell J)
6 July 2000
In an appeal against a sentence of 14 years' imprisonment for two offences of manslaughter, the judge's failure to mention two weighty mitigating factors, led the appeal court to quash the original sentence and substitute a total term of 12 years' imprisonment in its place.
CA (Crim Div) (Henry LJ, Gibbs J, Henriques J)
4 July 2000
Where a doctor, who had carried out a post-mortem of a murder victim, had had her work discredited and there was evidence of another cause of death which that doctor had not found, then the jury if they had known of the criticism of the doctors work could not have been sure of the cause of death.
DC (Rose LJ, Holland J)
14 June 2000
The applicants had failed to show that their return to Spain would be unjust or oppressive within the meaning of s.11(3)(b) Extradition Act 1989 and accordingly the metropolitan stipendiary magistrate had been entitled to commit them to custody to await the decision of the Home Secretary as to whether they should be returned to the requesting State.
PC (Trin) (Lord Slynn of Hadley, Lord Goff of Chieveley, Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Clyde, Sir Patrick Russell)
15 May 2000
A defendant's appeal against a murder conviction was allowed because the trial judge had failed to give a good character direction to the jury and, furthermore, had misdirected them by confusing intention with foresight.
HL (Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, Lord Nolan, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Hutton)
30 March 2000
Where a defendant had been found unfit to plead by reason of mental disability, the defence of diminished responsibility (under s.2 Homicide Act 1957) could not apply to a hearing under s.4A(2) Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 to determine whether he committed the act charged against him.
CA (Crim Div) (Henry LJ, Hidden J, Astill J)
27 March 2000
Where circumstances of manslaughter by stabbing arose whilst the appellant was suffering from many of the features of Battered Woman Syndrome and had, since the incident, demonstrated remarkable progress in rehabilitation, the court was able to take the wholly exceptional course of passing a community service order.
DC (Buxton LJ, Moses J)
23 March 2000
The Director of Public Prosecutions' decision not to prosecute a company and its managing director for gross negligence manslaughter was quashed on judicial review. The Director of Public Prosecutions was ordered to reconsider his decision because he had ignored relevant considerations and had wrongly applied a subjective test when considering whether a conviction was possible.
CA (Crim Div) (Swinton Thomas LJ, Douglas Brown J, Sachs J)
2 March 2000
In a murder trial where uncontradicted medical evidence found that responsibility for an accused's actions was substantially diminished and there was no evidence which could possibly justify a jury in coming to any other conclusion then the judge should direct the jury to that effect.
PC (Jam) (Lord Clyde)
28 February 2000
A trial judge had a responsibility to put before the jury all the possible conclusions which may be open to them on the evidence presented at trial whether or not those conclusions had been canvassed by counsel for either party.
CA (Crim Div) (Rose LJ, Potts J, Curtis J)
15 February 2000
The defendant could be convicted of gross negligence manslaughter in the absence of evidence as to state of mind. In the absence of evidence establishing the guilt of an identified human individual for the same crime, a non-human defendant could not be convicted of the crime of manslaughter by gross negligence. The identification principle remained the only basis in common law for corporate liability for gross negligence manslaughter.
CA (Crim Div) (Rose LJ, Potts J, Curtis J)
10 February 2000
If an accused's faculties were significantly affected by mental disorder then it may be unjust to treat him as bound by his election not to advance diminished responsibility as a defence at trial.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Bingham of Cornhill LCJ, Tucker J, Hallett J)
18 January 2000
In view of the offender's violent history, a sentence of 15 months' imprisonment for two offences of threats to kill was unduly lenient in that there had been a real risk that the offender would carry out his threats. Accordingly the sentence was quashed and substituted with a sentence of three years' imprisonment.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Garland J, Nelson J)
18 January 2000
Appellant who killed his grandmother and pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the ground of diminished responsibility could not rely on his paranoid psychotic illness as an exceptional circumstance under s.2 Crime (Sentences) Act 1997. Despite compelling medical evidence that he should become the subject of a hospital order he had been correctly sentenced to life imprisonment.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Bingham of Cornhill LCJ, Scott Baker J, Curtis J)
5 October 1999
A defendant was entitled to know the evidence the Crown intended to rely on to prove its case against him before the start of his trial.
CA (Crim Div) (Kennedy LJ, Newman J, Sullivan J)
25 June 1999
Successful appeal against conviction for robbery and manslaughter because the police had failed to inform the appellant during interview of the seriousness of the likely charges against him.