Criminal charges involving crimes such as manslaughter or murder are prosecuted under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and can lead to a whole life custodial sentence. The nature of these crimes therefore requires robust criminal defence. At Sperrin Law we consistently undertake a detailed analysis of the evidence and issues relating to each case and adopt a strategic approach in ensuring the fairest possible outcome for our clients.
It is up to the prosecution to prove that a person of sound mind unlawfully killed another person and they had the intention to kill or to cause grievous bodily harm. Complete defences to murder include self-defence, as do partial defences, including diminished responsibility and loss of control.
Manslaughter can be either voluntary or involuntary. Involuntary manslaughter applies where a person has caused the death of another but they have done so without the intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, introduced the new offence of corporate manslaughter, which makes it an offence for a qualifying organisation to cause a person’s death through a gross breach of a duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased.
There are complex legal issues surrounding the doctrine of joint enterprise where the accused person is said to have been part of a group activity where a murder has been encouraged or they have been complicit. The prosecution would have to prove that even though the accused may not have been the aggressor, they had the same intention of killing or causing serious harm.