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Manslaughter - gross negligence manslaughter - examples

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There is a rich source of old cases where D was held criminally liable, which predate the leading case of Adomako (1994):

R v Dant (1865)

D had a horse which he knew to be so vicious as to be dangerous; he turned it out (onto a common) a place where there were paths on which he knew people were likely to be; the horse killed such a person and D was convicted of manslaughter.


R v Benge (1865)

D was a railway lookout who misread timetable, fellow workers killed.


R v Jones (1874)

Lush J directed the jury that, if the accused pointed the gun at deceased without examining whether it was loaded or not, he was guilty of manslaughter

By contrast in R v Lamb [1967] CA there was an understandable mistake made by an amateur who was unaware of mechanism of revolver.


R v Pittwood (1902)

D was a gatekeeper who failed to close level-crossing gates and a carter was killed, a contract created a positive duty to act.


There is a duty upon workmen and others who throw rubbish etc or allow it to fall from a height, not to endanger the lives of persons who may reasonably be expected to be in a place of public resort below.

If they throw down such things without giving a sufficient warning which is likely to be heard, they may be guilty of manslaughter:

R v Hull (1664)

throwing stones down a mine

R v Rigmaidon (1833)

where death was caused by casks which had been insufficiently secured falling into the road.


For other cases of manslaughter arising out of a duty imposed by law to do or not to do certain things.

R v Martin (1827)

giving a very young child a considerable quantity of spirits to drink which would now be covered by the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.


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