Discuss Martha's Criminal Liability? (50 Marks).

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Discuss Martha's criminal Liability? (50 Marks). Jane is sitting next to Martha on a train. Martha is knitting a scarf and listening to her Mp3 Player while Jane is reading a book. Jane objects to the noise and asks Martha to switch off her music. An argument ensures and Jane tells Martha that she is an 'inconsiderate old witch'. Martha then flies into a rage and as Jane storms out of her seat Martha stabs her in the back with a knitting needle. In this scenario Martha is liable for unlawful act manslaughter. unlawful manslaughter is common law and is an unlawful killing of a human being where the defendant does not have the intention, either direct or oblique, to kill or to cause grievous bodily harm. To find Martha guilty of unlawful act manslaughter it has to be proved that she caused the death of Martha as causation has to be established. There is factual and legal causation. Factual causation is established by the application of the 'but fore test' which says that the defendant can only be guilty if the consequence would not have happened 'but for' the defendant's conduct. This can be seen by the case of White (1910). in this case the defendant put cyanide into the victims drink how ever the defendant died from a heart attack before drinking the drink but the defendant was not the factual cause of death but still he was guilty of attempted murder. This is because the court held that the defendant had everything in motion to do his unlawful act. Another case illustrating factual causation is the case of Pegett (1983). In this case the defendant used his pregnant wife as a human shield. The police returned fire and the the girlfriend was killed by the police bullets. The defendant was still guilty of her manslaughter because the girl would not have died 'but for' him using her as a shield in the shoot out. It could be argued that Jane would still be
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