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8.2.8 - Checklist: Manslaughter Self-Defence

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All Manslaughter Self-Defence

[This checklist can be used instead of the Manslaughter Checklist if it is alleged that the accused committed either criminal negligence manslaughter or unlawful and dangerous act manslaughter on or after 23 November 2005 and before 1 November 2014 and there is evidence from which a jury might infer that he or she was acting in self-defence.

The checklist is designed for use where it is alleged that the accused believed it was necessary to do what s/he did to defend him/herself. It will need to be modified if it is alleged that the accused acted to defend another person or to terminate the unlawful deprivation of liberty.

If it is alleged that the accused committed criminal negligence manslaughter only, see Checklist: Criminal Negligence Manslaughter.

If it is alleged that the accused committed unlawful and dangerous act manslaughter only, see Checklist: Unlawful and Dangerous Act Manslaughter.

If it is alleged that the accused committed the manslaughter prior to 23 November 2005, see Common Law Self-Defence.]

If it is alleged that the accused committed the manslaughter on or after 1 November 2014, see Statutory Self-Defence.]

Manslaughter

Before you can convict the accused of manslaughter, the prosecution must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, either that:

  1. The accused committed a criminally negligent act; or
  2. The accused committed an unlawful and dangerous act.

The prosecution must also prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that:

  1. The accused’s act was not committed in self-defence.

 

Criminal Negligence

1. Has the prosecution proved that the act which caused the victim’s death was committed in circumstances which involved such a great falling short of the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised, and involved such a high risk of causing death or really serious injury, that it deserves to be criminally punished?

If Yes, then go to 3a

If No, then go 2a

Unlawful and Dangerous Act

2a. Has the prosecution proved that the accused intended to commit the act that caused the victim’s death?

If Yes, then go to 2b

If No, then the accused is not guilty of Manslaughter

2b. Has the prosecution proved that the accused’s act that caused the victim’s death was unlawful?

If Yes, then go to 2c

If No, then the accused is not guilty of Manslaughter

2c. Has the prosecution proved that the accused’s act that caused the victim’s death was dangerous?

Consider – Would a reasonable person consider that an act of that kind would expose another person or other people to an appreciable risk of serious injury?

If Yes, then go to 3a

If No, then the accused is not guilty of Manslaughter

Self-Defence

3a. Has the prosecution proved that the accused did not believe that it was necessary to do what s/he did to defend him/herself?

Consider – What were the circumstances as perceived by the accused?

If Yes, then the accused is guilty of Manslaughter (as long as
you also answered Yes to either Question 1 or 2(a, b and c))

If No, then go to 3b

3b. Has the prosecution proved that the accused did not have reasonable grounds for his/her belief that what s/he did was necessary to defend him/herself?

Consider – What were the circumstances as perceived by the accused?

If Yes, then the accused is guilty of Manslaughter (as long as
you also answered Yes to either Question 1 or 2(a, b and c))

If No, then the accused is not guilty of Manslaughter

Last updated: 1 November 2014

See Also

8.2 - Statutory Self-Defence (Pre - 1/11/14) and Defensive Homicide

8.2.1 - Charge: Murder Self-Defence

8.2.2 - Charge: Defensive Homicide

8.2.3 - Checklist: Murder Self-Defence with Manslaughter

8.2.4 - Checklist: Murder Self-Defence with Criminal Negligence Manslaughter

8.2.5 - Checklist: Murder Self-Defence with Unlawful and Dangerous Act Manslaughter

8.2.6 - Checklist: Murder Self-Defence with No Manslaughter

8.2.7 - Charge: Manslaughter Self-Defence

8.2.9 - Checklist: Unlawful and Dangerous Act Manslaughter

8.2.10 - Checklist: Criminal Negligence Manslaughter