Unit 24

Topics: Criminal law, Police, Manslaughter in English law Pages: 10 (3866 words) Published: June 23, 2013
Unit 24: Aspects of Criminal law relating to Business

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 allow companies and organisations to be guilty of these offences where serious managerial failures result in gross breach of a duty of care. This Act created a new offence of corporate manslaughter to apply to companies, government departments, police forces etc. However, before this Act was introduced, a corporation could only be convicted of manslaughter if a single employee of the company committed all the fundamentals of the offence and was considered ‘senior’ enough to be seen as exemplifying the "mind" or ‘brain’ of the corporation. Due to these limitations, convictions were rare and it was felt that corporations had escaped punishment. The offence is concerned with corporate liability and does not apply to directors or other senior individuals, who may have other senior members beneath them in the company or organisation. The police investigate suspected cases of corporate manslaughter and prosecution decisions are made by the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service). An organisation will be guilty of the new offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes death and equals to a gross breach of a duty of care to the deceased. The new test requires juries to consider; * how the fatal action was managed or controlled throughout the organisation, including any systems and processes for managing safety * to take into consideration any health and safety breaches by the organisation * and to analyse how serious and dangerous those failures were, and how relevant they were to the fatality. If an organisation is proven to be guilty of the offence, it is liable for an unlimited fine. The Act also provides for courts to impose a publicity order, where the organisation is required to publicise details of its conviction and fine. This, to certain extents, is done to put the organisation under ‘shame’, so that they have chances of losing business due to their activities as an organisation and the public are aware of their actions. Voluntary manslaughter can be defined as a deliberate action that is done without malice or planning. This type of manslaughter involves the intent to kill or cause serious bodily harm, where the person has the mens rea for murder. Furthermore, voluntary manslaughter can occur during the heat of passion e.g. if a person comes home to find his partner in bed with another person and killing that other person in a fit of rage would be a prime example of this type of manslaughter. The law regards the killing as to be partially excused by; * diminished responsibility

* loss of control
* suicide pact
Involuntary manslaughter can be defined as the failure to perform a legal duty that is required to protect another's life e.g. if a lifeguard was not to save a drowning victim. It can also occur while committing a criminal act that is not considered to be a crime e.g. if a person driving drunk was to hit and kill someone. Involuntary manslaughter is also referred to as unlawful act manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter is a form of manslaughter where an unlawful killing has taken place where the defendant lacks the mens rea of murder. There are two types of involuntary manslaughter Firstly there’s constructive manslaughter, where the defendant commits an unlawful dangerous act which results in death. Secondly where the defendant commits a lawful act which results in death this may amount to gross negligence manslaughter. The offence of involuntary manslaughter can be broken down into three elements: 1. There must be an unlawful act

2. The unlawful act must be dangerous
3. The unlawful dangerous act must cause death
Punishments for voluntary manslaughter include a fine, imprisonment for up to 15 years or both. Involuntary manslaughter is punishable by fine, imprisonment up to eight years or both.

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