Law Homework – Reforms of Murder and Voluntary Manslaughter
My criticisms of Murder and Voluntary Manslaughter
Murder is the most serious form of unlawful homicide. Murder is a common law offence, and has never been defined by statute. The most commonly accepted definition is the one given by the early 17th century judge, Sir Edward Coke. He defined murder as: ‘The unlawful killing of a reasonable person in being under the Queens peace with malice aforethought, express or implied.’’ The actus reus of murder is the ‘unlawful killing.’ Some killings are recognised by the law as being justified. For example a person who kills in self-defence or in the prevention of a crime, provided that the force used was reasonable in the
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To reform this I would make it so that after 24 weeks pregnancy it is considered murder if you harm the mother and the baby dies as a result for example a stab wound as it is medically considered a human so it should be legally treated as a human to. The mens rea of murder is ‘malice aforethought, express or implied’. There is actually no requirement for ‘malice’ to be present. It is possible to imagine a situation where a killing takes place from motives of love or compassion. An example, might be of a parent who gives a fatal overdose of drugs to a child suffering from an intolerably painful terminal illness such as in Gray 1965. However that parent will still be convicted of murder as would someone who killed someone out of cold blood. I think this is disgusting and I personally think euthanasia should be made legal with the permission from at least 3 different doctors after doing medical checks and mercy killers should not be given the same sentence as cold blooded murders, if a prison sentence at all.
Voluntary manslaughter is the outcome of a situation where a defendant who would otherwise be guilty of murder, is able to successfully plead one of two defences: Loss of self-control or diminished responsibility. To plead loss of