Defences For Murder Essay

911 words - 4 pages

Defences for Murder

There are only three partial defences for murder; suicide pact,
provocation-the loss of self control and reaction must be
instantaneous and diminished responsibility. Amongst the three
mentioned two are most frequently used, these are provocation and
diminished responsibility, and only one full defence, self defence.
These defences are used to reduce the sentence charge by the defendant
to manslaughter from murder.

In the following text I will be examining how men use provocation and
diminished responsibility to walk free from murder. I will analyse the
advantages and disadvantages of these defences and any alternatives or
reforms.

Firstly, provocation is seen by men as an encouragement to attack
their partners. Many people say that men respond more violently to
infidelity and need a defence when their actions lead to the death of
their partners. Provocation also makes the victim seem like the
responsible agent. In the past men have killed their wives because
their partners are leaving them for another man (R.v.Humes) and have
claimed provocation or they have beaten their partners while
intoxicated (drugs, alcohol etc.) claiming diminished responsibility
(R.v.Tandy). In order to claim diminished responsibility the person
must have a substantial abnormality of mind caused by injury, disease
or just born with it. The mind may not be able to think straight thus
cannot make the decisions a reasonable person would. The person may
not know the quality of their actions and may not know that they are
doing wrong. In R.v.Tandy the defendant suffered from alcoholism and
she killed her 11 year old daughter and claimed diminished
responsibility. This defence is used successfully 70 to 80 times a
year, but is murdering someone and claiming ‘diminished
responsibility’ a fair way to escape from murder?

The law today is far too lenient upon men who abuse and kill their
wives and claim ‘provocation’ to lessen the charge. Women are
constantly beaten by their partners and some kept prisoners in their
own home and eventually killed. In the case R.v.Thornton the defendant
was a battered wife who killed her husband. Her husband after
threatening her, the husband fell asleep, she went to the kitchen and
returned with a knife...

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