Thursday, January 31, 2008

Law Reform Commission of Ireland Report on Homicide

Earlier this week, the Law Reform Commission of Ireland released its report on Homicide: Murder and Involuntary Manslaughter.

"The Commission considers that the label 'murder' should cover the most heinous killings. The Commission therefore recommends that it should continue to be murder where the accused intended to kill or cause serious injury; but the Commission also recommends that the mental element in murder should be broadened to include reckless killings manifesting an extreme indifference to human life. Under this proposal, a person who planted a bomb in a busy office block could be convicted of murder if someone dies in the blast even if his main purpose was to cause criminal damage, rather than to injure or kill anyone. The Commission also repeats a recommendation it made over 10 years ago that the mandatory life sentence for murder should be replaced in order to take account of variations in moral culpability in different types of murder. "

"As to unlawful and dangerous act manslaughter, the Commission recommends retaining the existing key elements, namely, that the act which causes death constitutes a criminal offence and poses a risk of bodily harm to another; and that it is an act which an ordinary reasonable person would consider to be dangerous, that is, likely to cause bodily harm. But the Commission also recommends that low levels of deliberate violence should be removed from the scope of unlawful and dangerous act manslaughter and be prosecuted as a new, lesser, offence of 'assault causing death'."

"The Commission also recommends retaining the main elements of the current gross negligence manslaughter test, namely that the negligence which caused the death of the victim was of a very high degree and involved a high degree of risk or likelihood of substantial personal injury to others. But the Commission adds that a person should only be liable if he or she was mentally and physically capable of averting to, and avoiding the risk of death at the time of the fatality."

"As to related motoring offences, the Commission recommends that dangerous driving causing death should continue to exist alongside the more serious offence of manslaughter. Drivers could be prosecuted for manslaughter for road deaths but only where there is very high culpability, such as where joy-riding or high alcohol levels and speeding are involved. The Commission also recommends that a new offence of 'careless driving causing death' should be introduced to cover fatalities caused by
careless motoring."

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:10 pm


Post a Comment

<< Home