This the defendant helped inject heroin into

 This
was later quashed by the case of Rodgers (2003) which held that holding
something to prevent the flow of blood, accounts to injecting heroin according
to s.23 of the offences against the person act. This resultantly violates the
legal principle, as this element that is required predominantly focuses on the
actus reus.

All elements of the unlawful act manslaughter must be present, if there is an
element missing the defendant cannot be held liable and will not be charged of
the offence. This offence, does not violate the legal principle of no act is
guilty unless the mind is guilty as the elements of the offence considers the
mens rea either of the defendant or that of a reasonable person.

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sb7 .
This can also be seen in the case of Kennedy no.2 where it appeared that the
defendant and the victim “were joint principles and that a causal link could be
established” (Thirlaway, V. p204). sb6The final element needed
for a person to be liable for unlawful act manslaughter is that the act must be
the cause of the victim’s death. This requirement concerns itself with the
element of causation, it requires us to find out whether the unlawful and
dangerous act is the legal and factual cause of the victim’s death. In the case
of Goodfellow (1986) it was established that the unlawful act does not have to
be aimed at the victim. The difficulty of this element is “identifying the
unlawful act which causes the victim’s death” (Monahagan, 2016, p.142).  In
the case Cato 1976 the defendant helped inject heroin into the victim which
then caused the victim’s death. The judge held that the unlawful act was
administering a drug contrary to the offences against the person act 1861 s.23
and that “the victim’s consent was not a defence to a charge of manslaughter”.
However, difficulties arose as to whether the physical act of passing drugs to
someone could amount to a criminal offence, in the case of Dias (2002) the
defendant passed the victim a syringe of heroin, who then injected it
themselves and later died as a result. The trial judge held that “the chain of
causation was broken by the victim’s act of self-injection and that the
unlawful act causing the victim’s death was the injection and not the possession
of the drug” (Reed, A. p.507)

For a defendant to be held accountable for involuntary manslaughter, the
person doing that act has to be guilty of performing a dangerous act. An act is
considered dangerous whereby “any reasonable person would inevitably recognise
that the act would expose some other person, to the risk of at least some form
of harm” (lexis Nexis, killing by an unlawful and dangerous act: constructive
manslaughter). This meaning of this element was given in the case of Church 1966
where the defendant knocked the victim semi-conscious. Thinking she was dead,
the defendant covered up the evidence by throwing her body into a nearby river,
where unfortunately the victim died of drowning. On appeal against the
conviction, the judge held that the defendant deliberately threw the living
body into the river which itself is an unlawful act and did not matter whether
he believed she was dead or not. sb4 Thus, the dangerous act is tested objectively,
concerned with what a reasonable person would see as causing harm. Thus, this
supports the legal principle of “no act is guilty unless the mind is guilty” as
looking at the dangerousness of the act is tested objectively, which takes into
consideration the mens rea of both, the defendant and any reasonable person.
However, the issue of the unlawful act being objectively dangerous stems from
the case of Watson 1989 the defendant in this case verbally abused the victim
after breaking into his home. After reporting the crime to the police, the
victim suffered a heart attack and eventually died. The issue surrounding this
case is that, even though the act could be considered as dangerous, it could
not be established that the defendant’s actions caused the victim to have a
heart attack. Therefore, the defendant was not held liable for the death of the
victim, as it could have been the initial shock of the police response rather
than the defendant’s action. This can also be seen in the case of Dawson (1985)
where the defendant attempted to rob a petrol station, unaware that the victim
had a heart defect began threatening him which then resulted in the death of
the victim. The defendant was convicted as the judge stated he needs to take
his victims as he finds them as mentioned by the thin skull rule. The
conviction was later quashed after being established that emotional disturbance
isn’t enough to convict someone and that the offence must be a risk of some
physical injury. This contradicts the idea that the criminalisation of unlawful
act manslaughter doesn’t violate the legal principle, as the cases of Watson
and Dawson show that the prosecution did not focus on the mens rea of the
offence.

However, critics argue that the case of
Lamb doesn’t violate the legal principle of unlawful act manslaughter. This is
because the court later held that the judge misdirected the jury and the
defendant’s conviction was later quashed on the grounds that, the defendant
genuinely believed there were no bullets in the revolver. Thus, there was no
intention to do an act which is a required element to be liable for unlawful
act manslaughter.

In the case of Franklin (1883) the defendant stole a box from a sb3 booth and threw it into the sea, where it struck a
swimmer on the head, unfortunately killing him. The outcome of this case was
that, the act of the defendant stealing from the booth was not efficient enough
for him to be charged under involuntary manslaughter. It was held that a “civil
tort should not form the basis of liability for a criminal offence and that the
unlawful act must amount to a criminal offence” (Monahagan, 2017). Without this
second element, there can be no liability for unlawful act manslaughter. This
can also be seen in the case of Lamb 1967 where the defendant pointed a
revolver at the victim, as a practical joke. The defendant was unaware that the
revolver was loaded, and shot at the victim accidentally. The trial judge in
this case directed the jury that pointing the gun at the victim could be an
unlawful act, resulting in the conviction of the defendant. Therefore, this
shows that the criminalisation of unlawful act manslaughter violates the legal
principle of no act is guilty unless the mind is guilty, as the defendant was
at first convicted and held liable for his act, even though there was no
intention to do it.

Involuntary manslaughter is divisible into four categories, unlawful act
manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter, subjectively reckless
manslaughter and corporate manslaughter. Unlawful act manslaughter refers to
where the defendant intentionally commits an unlawful act which causes the
death of the victim. To convict someone of unlawful act manslaughter, it is
important to look at the mens rea which refers to the defendant’s intention and
the actus reus which involves the defendant’s conduct.

In order to successfully prosecute someone for unlawful act manslaughter, the
crown prosecution service must make sure the offence has four elements. The
offence of unlawful act manslaughter was defined in the case of Larkin (1944),
when the victim  fell on a razor the defendant was holding. The court of
criminal appeal stated that liability for manslaughter arises through an
unlawful act. This was also confirmed in the case of DPP v Newbury and Jones
1976, sb2 where it was stated that an accused is
guilty of manslaughter if it is proved that they intentionally committed an act
which was unlawful and dangerous and that act resulted in the death of another
person. In this case, the defendant pushed a paving stone over the bridge onto
an oncoming train, which resulted in the death of the guard. The trial judge
held that the defendants didn’t have to be proved to foresee any harm to the victims.
The first element required for unlawful acts manslaughter is that the defendant
did the act intentionally, the intention relates to the act committed by the
defendant and not the resultant death (Monahagan, 2017). This is established in
the case of Lowe (1973) where the defendant deliberately neglected their child
contrary to s.1 of the children and young persons act. As a result, the
defendant was held liable as they had the intention to carry out the unlawful
act. This shows that the criminalisation of involuntary manslaughter, more
specifically unlawful act manslaughter does not violate the principle of “no
act is guilty unless the mind is guilty” as the element of the offence,
considers the defendant’s intention.

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