Criminal Law-Involuntary Manslaughter . Essay
There is no offence of ‘homicide’ as such. A person cannot be charged with or convicted of ‘homicide’. Homicide (Latin: homicidium, Latin: homo human being + Latin: caedere to cut, kill) means the killing of a human being [Irving, Shae, ed (2009) and may be lawful – where, for example, fatal force was necessary to defend oneself. The two most important offences of unlawful homicide are murder and manslaughter. Although both are common law offences, elements of murder and manslaughter have been modified by Acts of Parliament and the penalties for each are statutory.
Until 1957, murder (the more serious of the two offences) was a capital offence – that is, a sentence of death …show more content…
Although the penalties for murder and manslaughter are provided for by statute, and although elements of the offences have been modified by a number of Acts of Parliament the definitions of the offences are still to be found at common law.
Both murder and manslaughter share a common actus reus, defined by Sir Edward
Coke in the seventeenth century and discussed below.
Involuntary manslaughter includes all varieties of homicide, which are unlawful at common law but committed without malice aforethought. It is not surprising, therefore, that the fault required takes more than one form. And, as the limits of malice aforethought are uncertain it follows inevitably that there is a corresponding uncertainty at the boundary between murder and manslaughter. The difficulties do not end there, for there is another vague borderline between manslaughter and accidental death. Indeed, Lord Atkin said that: ..........of all crimes manslaughter appears to afford most difficulties of definition,