The aim of this paper is to determine what the possibilities are of Mulenga, a drug addict, of being convicted and of what offence in particular in relation to killing Bwalya after hitting him ten times on the head with a cricket bat. In determining this, the background of homicide with specific reference being made to murder and manslaughter will be given, followed by the application of the rule of law to the facts at hand as well as possible defences to certain offences from with the conclusion will be drawn.
Homicide is the legal term for killing a man, whether lawfully or unlawfully. However, there is no crime of homicide. Unlawful homicide at common law comprises the two crimes of murder and manslaughter. There are also other types of unlawful homicide but in this paper, much attention will be focused on murder and manslaughter. This is because if a person commits unlawful homicide they will be charged with murder and maybe convicted for the same offence or for manslaughter which is considered to be a lesser offence.
In the institutes of the laws of England, 1797, lord Edward coke defined murder as “when a man of sound memory, and of the age of discretion, unlawfully killeth within any country of the realm any reasonable creature in rerum natura under the King's peace, with malice aforethought, either expressed by the party or implied by law, so as the party wounded, or hurt, etc. die of the wound or hurt, etc. within a year and a day after the same." Under the queens peace means that the killing of an enemy in the course of war will not be murder.
The actus reus of murder which is also equivalent to that for manslaughter is unlawfully causing the death of another person. Both section 199 and 200 of the penal code with respect to manslaughter and murder respectively, have used the same expression ‘unlawful act or omission causes death.’ This expression clearly shows that murder is a crime of result, thus the prosecution have the onus to prove causation....