Crime XXXXXXX- Gross Negligence Manslaughter II

The subjective recklessness test was later overshadowed by the test in R v Lawrence (1981). In R v Lawrence (1981) the accused was riding his motorbike and while doing so he ran into a pedestrian who was subsequently killed as a result of the accident that followed and the accused was charged.

The court held that in order for the rider or the driver to be guilty of manslaughter the following criteria or requirements must be satisfied:-

1) The accused was riding or driving in a manner that created an obvious and serious risk to other road users and property.

2) The rider or the driver by riding or driving in the manner he or she did, did not give thought to the risk or having given it some thought dismissed it.

The test in Lawrence is used to establish reckless manslaughter and it has an objective element in it for example when deciding 1) that the accused was riding or driving in a manner that created an obvious and serious risk to other road users, the benchmark that is to be used to determine whether there was an obvious and serious risk to other road users is that of the reasonable man as opposed to the second limb of the Cunningham test which says that the defendant can be convicted if he or she was reckless as to whether such risk should occur or not and it does imply that the defendant can be convicted if he really didn’t give the matter that much thought and death results.

Gross negligence is a step above carelessness and a step above recklessness and hence the defendant’s actions can be described as being grossly negligent.

There isn’t a stark or striking difference between reckless manslaughter or gross negligence manslaughter and a lot depends on the facts of each case.

Copyright © 2018 by Dyarne Ward

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