Voluntary manslaughter defence Loss of Control Introduction As Maria has Killed John, She is likely to be charged with his Murder. Maria is both factual, â€˜but forâ€™ her actions, he would not have died R v White (1910) and legal cause, as her actions contributed significantly to the death of John (R v Smith (1959)). The mens rea for murder is established by evidence, as Maria throws the vase at Pauls head with the intention to cause Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH), therefore indicates that Maria had intention to harm and possibly Kill John, and therefore would be likely to be charged with Murder.
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However Maria may be able to plead the partial defence of loss of control, this is a statutory defence and only applies to murder charges. If the plea for loss of control is successful Maria will be convicted of Voluntary manslaughter, as she did intend to cause GBH but carried out the offence due to her loss of control, therefore will potentially be given a discretionary sentence, depending on the judgeâ€™s decision. The Coroners and Justice Act (2009) (CJA) made fundamental changes to the partial defence of murder and created the new defence of loss of control s.54 (1). The old defence of Provocation was abolished by s.56, therefore repeals s3 of the Homicide Act (1957). There are three elements of the defence of loss of control:
Loss of self- control The first element contains the subjective question whether Maria had lost self-control, it is clear from the facts that she was extremely angry and snapped after she had found out that her husband was leaving her for another man. This meant she launched the glass vase at Johnâ€™s head which caused his fatal injuries. This indicates that indeed she had lost her self- control. In the old defence of provocation required that the killing had to have been â€˜sudden and temporary loss of controlâ€™, therefore excluded Duffy, Humphreys and anybody else like her that waited to kill their victim. However under the new law there is no requirement that loss of control was sudden s.54 (2) CJA, 2009. The purpose of this new requirement was because the old defence was criticised for failing to protect those who had suffered cumulative abuse who lashed out as a result of provoking behaviours/conduct,
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