Diminished Responsibility

Report
Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Homicide – Voluntary
Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility – s.2(1)
Homicide Act 1957 (as amended)
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
What is voluntary manslaughter?
Homicide Act 1957 & Coroners and
Justice Act 2009
Diminished
Responsibility
Loss of Control
Survivor of a
Suicide Pact
s.2 Homicide Act as
amended by s.52 CJA
s.54 – 55 CJA
s.4 Homicide Act
Murder (Abolition of the Death Penalty) Act 1965
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
In simple terms:
D must show that at the time of killing V:
1. Abnormality of mental functioning (AO2)
2. From a recognised medical condition
3. This must substantially impair D’s ability to
do one of the following:
– 1. to understand the nature of D’s conduct
– 2. to form a rational judgement
– 3. to exercise self-control and
4. Provides an explanation to his act
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Pleading DR
Diminished Responsibility is a partial defence
Why do we need it?
Proof and getting it before the jury.
Because the law on insanity and
automatism is MAD! And the
mandatory life sentence is not much
better.
You argue it, but only if the
reasonable jury would think you’ve
got a case.
Read the transcript from
R v Moyle 2008 and think
why you might not want to
plead DR
Read the transcript from
R v Sutcliffe 1981 what
might influence a judge to
withdraw the defence?
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Abnormality of mental functioning
• R v Byrne (1960) – still applicable?
• Abnormality of mind ‘includes a lack of ability to
form a rational judgement or exercise the
necessary will power to control one’s acts’ Byrne
(1960)
• Test now - “state of mind so different from
that of an ordinary human being that the
reasonable man would term it abnormal”
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Recognised Medical Condition
Condition
Case
Psychopathy
R v Byrne (1960)
Paranoia
R v Martin (Tony) 2001
Epilepsy
R v Campbell (1997)
Depression
R v Seers (1984) & R v Gittens (1984)
PMT
R v English (1981)
Postnatal Depression
R v Reynolds (1988)
PTSD
R v Bradley (2007)
Aspergers Syndrome
R v Reynolds (2004)
Battered Women’s Syndrome
R v Ahluwalia (1992) & R v Thornton (No 2) (1995)
World Health Organisation Classification & DSM – IV - TR
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Think pieces…
• Are the following .. recognised medical
conditions?
• Induced by disease - This covers mental, as
well as physical diseases; (Sanderson 1993).
• Induced by injury - This would include physical
blows to the head, e.g. that left D suffering brain
damage.
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Substantially Impaired
Lloyd (1967)
The word substantial in the 1957
act did not mean total, nor did it
mean trivial or minimal. It was
something in between and
Parliament had left it to juries to
decide on the evidence.
Confirmed in
Brown (2011)
© The Law Bank
In the act it actually
specifies what is meant
by this and D may argue
any of these.
1. Understand the nature
of their conduct
2. The ability to form
rational judgements
3. The ability to exercise
control
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Substantially impaired
• The jury will decide this after listening to the
evidence of doctors:
– Sanders (1991)
– Campbell (1997)
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
D’s abnormality must provide an explanation
for the killing
‘Significant causal factor’
Explain why diminished responsibility
mitigates liability for murder – why is it an
excuse?
…does it really fit with modern medicine
and psychiatric notions of explanation –
can you just blame the condition for the
reactions of the defendant?
How do you tell the difference?
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Provides an explanation of D’s conduct
• S2(1b) of Homicide Act 1957.
• ‘… an abnormality of mental functioning
provides an explanation for D’s conduct if it
causes or is a significant contributory factor in
causing D to carry out that conduct.’
• This can be important where D is intoxicated at
the time of the killing.
© The Law Bank
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
What if intoxication ‘substantially impaired’ D?
What’s the issue?
D is intoxicated AND suffers from an
unrelated AoMF
Gittens (1984)
Egan (1992)
D’s AoMF is CAUSED by the
intoxication
Despite the drink
was D sufficiently
impaired
If sober would he
have been impaired
Dietschmann(2003)
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Intoxication and unrelated AoMF
• A plea of DR may not be supported with
evidence of intoxication.
• The jury should disregard the effect of the
alcohol/drugs and consider whether D, had he
been sober, would still be suffering from an
abnormality of mind according to s.2. Gittens
(1985) – O’Connell (1997)
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Intoxication and unrelated AoMF
• The vital question is thus whether D’s
abnormality of mind was such ‘that he would
have been under diminished responsibility, drink
or no drink’ : Egan (1992);
• See also Dietschmann (2002) – Hendy (2006)
and Robson (2006).
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
R v Dietschmann (2003)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
What are the facts of the case?
On what grounds was D arguing diminished
responsibility?
What is the general rule on intoxication and
diminished responsibility?
When can drink give rise to a s.2 Homicide
Act 1957 defence?
What is the ratio of the case?
Does s.2 require the abnormality of mind to
be the sole cause of D’s acts in killing?
What is the question to be put to the jury
when assessing whether the impairment is
sufficient?
Which case did they follow Egan or
Gittens? Why?
© The Law Bank
Read the Dietschmann Case
Report and answer
these questions
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
What if intoxication ‘substantially impaired’ D?
What’s the issue?
D is intoxicated AND suffers from an
unrelated AoMF
Gittens (1984)
Despite the drink
was D sufficiently
impaired
Gittens (1992)
If sober would he
have been impaired
Dietschmann(2003)
© The Law Bank
D’s AoMF is CAUSED by the
intoxication
Tandy (1989)
Wood (2008)
Must cause brain
damage or irresistible
impulse to drink
The clear lines drawn in Tandy
are no longer appropriate. It is
the overall syndrome not the
nature of one drink as voluntary
Stewart (2009)
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Intoxication and unrelated AoMF
• If D’s long-term alcohol/ drug abuse has actually
damaged the mind itself, this may amount to an
‘injury’ within s.2 - Tandy (1989).
• What was the ratio of the C of A in Tandy
(1989)? – See also the case of Wood (2008).
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Can intoxication alone be enough for
‘substantially impaired’?
This is where D does not suffer from Alcohol Dependency Syndrome (ADS)
but is just drunk. Is it enough to be a medical condition under s.2? The official
guides to mental conditions do list ‘acute intoxication’ as a condition!
Consider R v Dowds 2012
D Killed his partner by stabbing her over 60 times.
He was a binge drinker. As he himself put it, he
could choose when to drink, but when drinking
could not stop.
© The Law Bank
Does he have a defence?
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Medical Evidence
• Note that medical evidence is crucial to the
defence of DR. If there is strong medical
evidence for the defence but the jury ignores it,
the C of A may quash a murder conviction and
substitute one of manslaughter: Matheson
(1958)
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Applying the law
Are these two defendants liable for the manslaughter of the victims?
Simon deliberately kills many
women, claiming he was
driven by God to rid the
world of prostitutes
(although several of his
victims were not
prostitutes). Medical experts
all agree that he is a
paranoid schizophrenic.
© The Law Bank
Bob, who was suffering from
depression and an alcoholic,
stabbed his brother Jim to
death after drinking ½ bottle
of whiskey. Bob had just
been prescribed medication
for the depression and
thought that his brother had
been stealing them and
replacing them with sugar
pills. He usually drank vodka,
but had none in the house.
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Higher order thinking
In your opinion, how accurate are these statements?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
It should be a mitigating factor in sentencing instead (the Spencer/Lloyd Amendment)
The new version brings the law into line with medical knowledge.
It is imposing an unfair burden of proof on the defence
It classes those in abusive relationships as “abnormal” in some way
The new defence provides a much more strict approach to the interpretation of
‘abnormality of mental functioning’ and doesn’t allow the same flexibility as the old law.
R v Higginbotham (2004)
6. It is almost impossible to separate intoxication and inherent causes.
7. The use of the defence can involve a range of overly complex and legal terminology which
can be difficult for a jury to understand.
8. The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 is only a halfway effective reform. The government
only included it because they wanted to reform provocation.
© The Law Bank
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Statement A: Sam would be liable for the
murder of Susie as he intended to cause her
serious harm.
Statement C: Sam would
not be able to argue DR
as he was not
substantially impaired at
the time of the death.
© The Law Bank
Diminished Responsibility
Statement B: Sam would not be able to argue
diminished responsibility as he was not suffering
from an abnormality of mental functioning.
Sam has recently been feeling very
down as his girlfriend Susie has left
him. He has been to the doctor, who
has put him on medication to help.
One night Sam meets his friend Mike
for drinks and over the course of a
couple of hours consumes a large
quantity of alcohol. On the way home,
he breaks into Susie’s house and
strangles her.
Statement D: Sam
would not be able to
argue DR as he was
intoxicated at the time
of the death.
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Statement A: Jim cannot plead DR over Louis’
death as he was suffering from an abnormality
of mental functioning.
Statement C: Jim is still
responsible for the death
of Louis despite
Sebastian’s actions
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Diminished Responsibility
Statement B: Jim can still plead DR to the death
of Louis despite the alcohol as he was still
substantially impaired.
Jim, who is on medication for an
adjustment disorder, drinks half a
bottle of vodka with his friend, Louis.
Jim, thinking that Louis has stolen his
vodka, attacks him with a claw
hammer, causing him serious injuries.
Sebastian, the paramedic comes to
help, but accidently breaks Louis’ rib,
puncturing his heart. Louis is put onto
a life support machine which is
switched off by Steven, who is trying
to save the hospital money.
Statement D: Steven is
not responsible for
Louis’ death as he has
only switched off the
life support machine.
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Apply the law
• Answer the
question that is on
your desk using the
knowledge you now
have.
• Remember IDEA
• Use this sequence
for the E and A
parts:
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Murder: Actus Reus
Murder: Mens Rea
Abnormality of mental functioning
Recognised medical condition
Substantially impaired
Causal factor?
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Homicide – Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished Responsibility
Objectives
• Define the elements of the partial defence of
diminished responsibility
• Explain in what circumstances the partial
defence of DR can be used by a defendant
• Describe the application of the partial defence
by reference to case law and problem scenarios
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