International Law Case Study

1196 Words5 Pages
International Law Case Study

A & B are two homosexuals who have lived together for a number of

years. Also living with them is C, who, while aged 30 is mentally

abnormal and has a mental age of 10. A and B have cared for C for 2

years since C’s remaining parent, an old friend of theirs, died. C

cannot look after himself very well and occasionally goes through

periods of deep depression. One day, A thinking that C might learn how

to bake a cake, shows C how to mix ingredients and use the gas oven.

He then goes to the shops to buy some decorations “to surprise B”.

When A gets back he finds C lying unconscious on the kitchen floor.

There is a strong smell of gas. A rushes out to a telephone box to

ring B. Meanwhile B arrives home and from smelling the gas and seeing

the state of C, thinks that C had committed suicide. Fearing for his

legal safety he hides C in a cupboard where C suffocates to death.

Advice A and B.


A & B are advised that the state acting under prerogative via the

Crown Prosecution Service will seek to juxtapose their actions with

the existing scope of the law. Congruence will lead to a conviction of

the charge. The charge here is submitted to be in the realm of

homicide since there is a fatality upon C. Thus it is the Crown’s

burden to prove the unlawful killing with the intention to kill or

cause grievous bodily harm beyond a reasonable doubt. DPP v

Woolmington. The crown would need here to satisfy both the legal and

evidential burden since A and B until then can enjoy the presumption

of innocence.

Upon a perusal of the facts, A and B cannot be jointly charged since

their elements ...

... middle of paper ...

... stick since its

improbable B would forsee virtually certainly that C would die.

In the alternative a verdict of involuntary manslaughter will be

sought. Here constructive manslaughter is most congruent to the

facts. First there is an unlawful positive act in the act of placing

C in the cupboard R v Larkin. It is unlawful being a crime under

battery, R v Armstrong. This act is unlawfully dangerous since it

risks asphuxia, R v Church. The objective standard this is satisfied.

This act was the curse of the fatality as on the facts he suffocated.

Following DPP v Newsbury it is submitted that B did intend the

unlawful act of placing him in the cupboard. Thus constructive

manslaughter is satisfied. It is submitted that there will be a

verdict of manslaughter on a charge of homicide rendering a maximum

life sentence.

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