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Manslaughter: Voluntary and Involuntary

The serious crime of manslaughter in England and Wales is defined in two categories, voluntary and involuntary. Put simply, ‘manslaughter’ occurs when a person kills another but without the intention required for a charge of murder.

Instead, the death must have occurred through gross negligence or an illegal act by another, known as ‘involuntary’ manslaughter. On the other hand, where a defendant has been charged with murder and a defence exists such as self-defence, loss of control or diminished responsibility, the charge may be reduced to that of ‘voluntary’ manslaughter.

The maximum sentence for manslaughter is imprisonment for life.  

Saunders Criminal Defence Solicitors have been defending those accused of serious and violent crimes such as murder and manslaughter for over 4 decades.  Our solicitors know being charged with murder or manslaughter is not only devastating but life changing and our highly experienced team of Criminal Defence Solicitors will leave no stone unturned in preparing and leading your defence.  We are well known for our high-profile criminal defence work and our tireless commitment to our clients’ cause.

Our highly experienced team have successfully defended many clients’ accused of manslaughter. We know communication is key, not only so you know how your case is progressing but to give you the best defence there is with the peace of mind to know you are in the best hands. That’s why we put you at the centre of your defence, making sure your case is meticulously prepared to the last detail and you are ready for court as well as expertly represented.

Established in 1974, our crime department is widely recognised as a leader in its field, highly ranked by leading trade directories The Legal 500 and Chambers, as well as The Lawyer’s Hot 100. You will find us in the ultimate prime location in Central London, literally facing the High Court.

Regardless of the seriousness of the allegations against you, Saunders Serious Crime Defence Solicitors can and will help. For expert legal advice and robust representation, contact our expert serious crime solicitors for a free, initial consultation at the earliest opportunity.

Manslaughter: What are the Possible defences?

Voluntary Manslaughter

Diminished Responsibility

Diminished Responsibility is a partial defence. It is defined in law as the circumstances where an accused suffers from an abnormality of mental functioning so different from that of ordinary human beings that the reasonable person would consider it abnormal.  The accused must be suffering from a recognised medical condition.  However, the case law establishes that a recognised medical condition does not mean that the condition is capable of being relied upon to show an abnormality of mental functioning.  Our solicitors will assess your case and advise you if you have this defence available. 

Loss of Control

This is a self-contained defence.  The loss of control need not be sudden. The requirement is that it must have been lost.  Even where there was a delay between the trigger incident and the murder, the defence can still be put to the jury.  Once the judge has decided that there is sufficient evidence to put this defence before the jury, the burden of disproving loss of control is on the prosecution.

Involuntary Manslaughter

Gross Negligence Manslaughter

Where an act or omission of the defendant resulting in a victim’s death is grossly negligent, although it may be otherwise lawful, this is categorised as gross negligence manslaughter.  The relevant test for this type of manslaughter is laid down in the case of Adomako decided in 1994.  Generally speaking, the test looks at if the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased and if that duty was breached.  Moreover, the breach should cause or significantly contribute towards the death of the victim and should be characterised as gross negligence. 

Medical Manslaughter

This type of manslaughter is no different to the gross negligence manslaughter.  This only refers to the specialist area of medicine and negligence by the medical professionals.  This usually takes place where a medical professional breaches his or her duty of care by being grossly negligent resulting in the death of a patient. 

Unlawful Act Manslaughter

Where the death is the result of the defendant’s unlawful act.  The act must be one which any reasonable person would realise could subject the victim to the risk of some physical harm.  The foreseeable harm need not be serious harm.  It does not matter whether the defendant realised this risk.

Call our Expert Manslaughter Lawyers, London Today

Saunders Serious Crime Solicitors are here for you now. If you have been charged with Murder or Manslaughter, don’t delay in contacting our expert Murder and Manslaughter solicitors in Central London today. Call us now for a free initial consultation on 02076324300 or contact us online and we will call you back shortly.

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