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Negligent Manslaughter

– Common Law

Negligent Manslaughter is when you owe someone else a duty of care. You act carelessly, breaching your duty of care. As a result of breaching your duty of care, you cause the other person’s death.
This offence is heard in the Supreme Court.
 
What is the legal definition of Negligent Manslaughter?
The Prosecution must prove that you owed the victim a duty of care. You breached that duty by criminal negligence. The act which breached the duty of care was committed consciously and voluntarily. The breach of your duty caused the victim’s death.

Examples of Negligent Manslaughter
  • A father knows his child cannot swim. The father takes his child to a lake. And while he sees the child drowning, he does not try to save the child, even though he can swim himself.
  • A Carer at an old age home fails to do a check on a client who is in critical care and needs supervision. Instead the Carer watches a film. The client dies as a result of not being attended to.

  • No duty of care was owed.
  • The duty of care was not breached.
  • The breach was not conscious or voluntary.
  • The breach did not cause the other person’s death.
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • What did you actually do?
  • Is there something you were meant to do and you did not do that thing?
  • Can they prove your conduct caused another person’s death?

The maximum penalty for this charge is Level 3, 20 years imprisonment.
 
What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
If you are found guilty of this offence you will get a prison sentence for some years.