Crime XXXXXV – Constructive Manslaughter XIV – The Unlawful Act XIII

The classification of the drug may be crucial in determining if whether a defendant is convicted for constructive manslaughter or otherwise. Judges may be more lenient when the drugs that are the cause of the death do not fall into the category of class A drugs.

In R v Kennedy (1999) the defendant supplied the drug, prepared the solution and handed it to the victim in a syringe. The victim injected himself with the solution and later died as a result. The drug that was involved was a class A drug (heroin). The defendant was tried and convicted for constructive manslaughter or unlawful act manslaughter and the defense appealed on the grounds that the defendant supplied and prepared the solution but did not administer it.

The appeal was dismissed and the conviction was upheld. The decision is in line with the decision in R v Cato (1976) and the class of drug that is concerned plays an important role in determining if the conviction remains or otherwise.

With regards to causing the death of the victim, where the defendant’s act plays a significant role in bringing about the death, in this instance the defendant prepared the syringe and handed it to the victim, he may be held to be jointly responsible for the death.

Copyright © 2018 by Dyarne Ward

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