For more than three centuries the criminal law has given rise to a divergent set of approaches to the crime of homicide. Whereas the law of murder has not conceptually changed,the crime of manslaughter has resulted in some forms of homicide being visited with relatively minor penalties. These various categories of unlawful killing present considerable problems relating to intention, or lack of it, and the culpability of those whose behaviour, while lacking in evident malice, is characterised by the grossest recklessness. The reaction of the relatives of victims is generally simpler. They frequently find it impossible to understand how those who kill by dangerous or drunken driving may receive comparatively lenient sentences, while those convicted of manslaughter following a drunken brawl may be dealt with more severely, and yet others, convicted of so-called 'mercy killings', are subject to the mandatory penalty of life imprisonment. This book addresses the powerful and controversial arguments for the current distinctions between murder, manslaughter and other specific categories of crime to be abolished and subsumed within a single crime of culpable homicide. In the course of this analysis the authors consider a number of issues of great contemporary importance, including the presentation of expert evidence in cases involving unexplained infant death, corporate killing, and the question of the defences available to the accused, including self-defence and provocation, where popular notions of what is reasonable or justifiable may be at variance with legal precedent. While this book aims to consider criminal homicide in its social, historical and legal setting, it also goes far beyond in setting out the case for radical reform.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 216
Weight: 472 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 17 mm
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