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By Jacqueline Martin; Chris Turner; Denis Lanser

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After the party they were heard talking and laughing. Then there was a shot. D phoned the police saying he had just murdered his father. D said that they had been seeing who was the fastest at loading and firing a shotgun. He had loaded his gun the fastest. His stepfather then said he hadn’t ‘got the guts’ to pull the trigger. D said ‘I didn’t aim the gun. I just pulled the trigger and he was dead’. D was convicted of murder but this conviction was quashed on appeal. I don’t intend to hurt you.

Give two case examples where an omission could be the actus reus of murder. 4. Has the defendant committed the actus reus of murder if: (a) he kills a foetus in the womb so that the child is born dead (b) he injures a foetus in the womb and the child is born alive but dies of its injuries? 5. The definition of murder includes the phrase ‘under the Queen’s Peace’. What is the effect of this phrase? Brain dead It is probable that a person who is ‘brain dead’ would not be considered as a ‘reasonable creature in being’.

If the defendant proves he was insane at the time of the killing, he is found not guilty by reason of insanity. If the defendant successfully pleads automatism, mistake or self-defence he is entitled to be acquitted of murder. The following flow chart takes you through the different points you may have to consider. 22 AQA Law for A2 Did the defendant do an act which caused the victim’s death? NO Not guilty of murder YES Did the defendant intend to kill or cause grievous bodily harm? NO Not guilty of murder but consider involuntary manslaughter YES Not guilty of murder but guilty of voluntary manslaughter YES Not guilty of murder but guilty of voluntary manslaughter YES Not guilty of murder by reason of insanity YES Was the defendant suffering from diminished responsibility?

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