evaluation of murder and voluntary manslaughter
in 2006 the law commission said that the law regarding homocide was a rickety structure build upon shaky foundations and is in urgent need of reform.
one criticism of the law on murder is the mandatory life sentence. it is very unfair and many judges are opposed to it as it cannot differentiate between different types of murders. murderers like terrorists, contract killers etc deserve a much longer sentence than those who kill through excessive force used in self defence (tony martin) or mercy killers who deserve a much smaller punishment. let it be noted that most mercy killers get the defence of diminished responsibility.
another criticism is that the law of murder comes from common law. this means it is made up from many cases which is beneficial as it comes from a wide range of sources. however it is also subject to change and hard to identify. the word intention is defined in both r v vickers and r v smith.
another problem with the law is that it is unfair to charge someone with murder when they just intended to cause grevious bodily harm. Lord Edmund Davies said "I find it strange that someone can be charged for murder for the internal breaking of anthers arm when in most cases it will not lead to death". However Lord Goddard argued "the defendant cannot argue that they only meant to inflict a certain degree of force, they must take all the consequences".
Maliceaforethought is also confusing and misleading. it is defined as 'the intention to kill or cause gbh" but many judges argue that it is unclear as it doesn't state whether that can be death through recklessness.
there have been stated reforms of the law. in 1993 the law commission proposed that the definition of 'intent' should be 'having the purpose to do something or knowing that it would occur in the series of events'. in 2006 the law commission proposed the idea of having two degrees of murder, similar to america. they proposed that...
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