Crime XXXXXIX – Involuntary Manslaughter V

In R v Seymour (1983) the accused had a heated argument with his girlfriend and subsequently, according to him, tried to push or force her car out of the way with his eleven-ton lorry. The victim got out of the car but was crushed between the car and the lorry. The accused was charged and convicted of manslaughter.

It was held that, with regards to death that is caused by reckless driving, the test that is to be applied is the test in R v Lawrence (1981) i.e. the question that was to be asked was whether the defendant was driving in a manner that gave rise to an obvious and serious risk and whether the defendant gave any thought to the risk or having given it some thought dismissed it. However, the risk that is caused by the manner in which the defendant is driving must be very high.

In Kong Cheuk Kwan v The Queen (1985) (Privy Council) the appellants were drivers of two hydrofoils that collided in perfect weather and resulted in the loss of lives. It was decided that the test that was to be applied was the test in in R v Lawrence (1981) and the appellants were found to be guilty.

In R v Goodfellow (1986) the accused who’d been repeatedly harassed by a couple of men set fire to his own home and his wife, son and his son’s girlfriend, who were in the house at the time, died in the fire. The accused was tried and convicted for manslaughter. The accused appealed but the conviction was upheld.

Copyright © 2018 by Dyarne Ward

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