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Manslaughter

Manslaughter

What is the difference between murder and manslaughter?
Manslaughter is distinct from murder. The distinction between murder and manslaughter comes from the fact that there need not be intent to kill, or cause grievous bodily harm when charging someone with manslaughter.
What constitutes Manslaughter?

Generally there are two types of manslaughter:
i) Voluntary
ii) Involuntary

The former is where a person charged with murder claims one of two partial defences, loss of self-control and abnormality of mental function.

There are two types of involuntary manslaughter:
i) Criminal negligence manslaughter
ii) Unlawful act manslaughter

The first is where death results from negligence or recklessness; the second is where an individual commits or attempts to commit an unlawful act.

New: With the coming into force of The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, companies and organisations can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter resulting from serious management failures.

What will the Crown Prosecution Service consider when deciding to charge someone with manslaughter?
The first thing to note is that nearly all cases where an individual is charged with manslaughter would first be considered under the criteria of murder. If the CPS find that the facts do not fit the requirements for murder then the individual may be charged with manslaughter.

How can a solicitor assist?
Similar to murder this is another offence for which the sentence is lengthy and the amount of evidence and hence work is lengthy. With the liberty of the individual being at stake, it is important that from the point of being interviewed at the police station the individual receive representation so as to not incriminate himself further, and to obtain the best advice and secure the best outcome possible.

Fees?
Individuals facing a charge of manslaughter would be entitled to free legal representation under the government's legal aid scheme should they qualify. Again the individual would qualify if they are earning under a certain amount, and if it is seen to be in the interests of justice that the individual be represented. As this is a serious offence which carries a lengthy custodial sentence of life imprisonment it would be seen to be in the interests of justice that the individual be represented.

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