Defence for Manslaughter

Updated on Monday 05th September 2016

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Manslaughter is defined as homicide in English criminal law. It is a less severe offence than murder in England. A manslaughter conviction sentence depends on the judge, while a sentence for murder has to be life imprisonment. 

Manslaughter can be voluntary or involuntary, depending on the accused’s level of mens rea (Latin expression which means “guilty mind”). 

Voluntary manslaughter in England

Voluntary manslaughter implies the intention to kill or to produce severe harm to a person. This conviction can only be issued if the accused pleads one of the two partial defences for murder: loss of self-control or abnormality of mental functioning. 

Our criminal solicitors in London can offer more details on what these defences consist of. 

Involuntary manslaughter in England

Involuntary manslaughter defence implies that the murder was committed witout mens rea, meaning that the accused is responsible for it, however he or she did not have a motive to do so.

There are four types of involuntary manslaughter:

•  Manslaughter by gross negligence: According to the English legislation, if an individual has the responsibility of care and proves to be negligent to an extent where he or she is found guilty of a crime which results in the victim’s death, he or she can be found guilty for gross negligence manslaughter;
•    Motor manslaughter: these are offences which result in death “by dangerous driving”; 
•   Manslaughter by unlawful act: a person can be found guilty of this offence if he or she has the intention to commit an illegal act which can harm another person, and which results in an unintended death of that person;
•    Unlawful act manslaughter and the responsibility of drug suppliers:  these are offences committed by drug suppliers which result in the death of the person they are supplying the drugs to. 

Our team of defence solicitors in London specialize in defences for all types of manslaughter in England. If you are faced with such an allegation, please do not hesitate to contact us for legal guidance and advice.


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