United Kingdom Law/Reform/Draft Homicide Bill

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Draft Bill[edit]

An Act to amend the law relating to homicide and suicide.

[The normal words of enactment go here]

Murder

1.-(1) A person guilty of murder shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life.
(2) A killing shall not amount to murder unless done with intent to kill.

Manslaughter

2. A person guilty of manslaughter shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life.

Suicide

3. It is not an offence for a person to commit suicide.

Encouraging or assisting suicide

4.-(1) A person ("D") commits an offence if-

(a) D does an act capable of encouraging or assisting the suicide or attempted suicide of another person, and
(b) D's act was intended to encourage or assist suicide or an attempt at suicide.

(2) The person referred to in subsection (1)(a) need not be a specific person (or class or persons) known to, or identfied by, D.
(3) D may commit an offence under this section whether or not a suicide, or an attempt at suicide, occurs.
(4) An offence under this section is triable on indictment and a person convicted of such an offence is liable to imprisonment for life.
(5) If on the trial of an indictment for murder or manslaughter of a person it is proved that the deceased person committed suicide, and the accused committed an offence under subsection (1) in relation to that suicide, the jury may find the accused guilty of the offence under subsection (1).

Acts capable of assisting or encoraging suicide

5.-(1) If D arranges for a person ("D2") to do an act that is capable of encouraging or assisting the suicide or attempted suicide of another person and D2 does that act, D is also to be treated for the purposes of section 4 as having done it.
(2) Where the facts are such that an act is not capable of encouraging or assisting suicide or attempted suicide, for the purposes of section 4 and this section it is to be treated as so capable had the facts been as D believed them to be at the time of the act or had subsequent events happened in the manner D believed they would happen (or both).
(3) A reference in section 4 or this section to a person ("P") doing an act that is capable of encouraging the suicide or attempted suicide of another person includes a reference to P doing so by threatening another person or otherwise putting pressure on another person to commit or attempt suicide.

Course of conduct

6. A reference in section 4 or 5 to an act includes a reference to a course of conduct, and a reference to doing an act is to be read accordingly.

Citation, extent and repeals

(1) This Act may be cited as the Homicide Act 2013.
(2) This Act extends to England and Wales and Northern Ireland.
(3) The enactments mentioned in the Schedule to this Act are repealed to the extent specified in the third column of that Schedule.

SCHEDULE

Chapter Short title Extent of repeal
24 & 25 Vict. c. 100 The Offences against the Person Act 1861. Section 5.
1 & 2 Geo. 6 c. 36 The Infanticide Act 1938. The whole Act.
1939 c. 5 (N.I.) The Infanticide Act (Northern Ireland) 1939. The whole Act.
5 & 6 Eliz. 2 c. 11 The Homicide Act 1957. The whole Act.
9 & 10 Eliz. 2 c. 60 The Suicide Act 1961. Section 1.
Section 2(1) to (2).
Section 2(4).
Section 2A and 2B.
1964 c. 84 The Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964. Section 6.
1965 c. 71 The Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965. Section 1(1).
1966 c. 20 (N.I.) The Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1966. Section 5.
In section 6, the words "or cause serious bodily harm to".
Section 8.
Section 12 to 14.
1973 c. 53 The Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973. Section 1(1).
1977 c. 45 The Criminal Law Act 1977. In section 3(2)(a), the words "murder, or" and "other".
1981 c. 47 The Criminal Attempts Act 1981. In section 4(1)(a), the words "murder or" and "other".
1982 c. 34 The Forfeiture Act 1982. Section 5.
1996 c. 19 The Law Reform (Year and a Day Rule) Act 1996. Section 2.
2000 c. 6 The Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. In section 90, the words "murder or" and the word "other" where it first appears.
In section 93, the words "murder or" and "other".
2003 c. 44 The Criminal Justice Act 2003. In Schedule 21, paragraph 4(2), 5(2), 5A, 10 and 11.
2006 c. 52 The Armed Forces Act 2006. In section 217(1), the words from "(a)" to "(b)", and the word "other".
In section 218(1)(b), the words from "(i)" to "(ii)", and the word "other".
2007 c. 27 The Serious Crime Act 2007. Section 58(2).
In section 58(3), the words "In any other case".
Section 58(5).
In section 58(6), the words from "none" to "but".
2009 c. 25 The Coroners and Justice Act 2009. Section 52 to 55.
In section 56(1), the words "and replaced by sections 54 and 55".
Section 57 to 60.

Notes[edit]

This Draft Bill is not complete.

This Draft Bill would

  • abolish the mandatory sentence for murder
  • remove references to that sentence from the statute law
  • abolish the offence and partial defence of infanticide
  • abolish the other partial defences to murder
  • abolish the form of malice aforethought known as "implied malice" and eliminate the term "malice aforethought" from the statute law.
  • abolish the special rules for forfeiture in cases of murder
  • abolish the restriction on institution of proceedings created by the Law Reform (Year and a Day Rule) Act 1996
  • increase the maximum penalty for the offence of assisting or encouraging suicide so that it is the same as that for assisting or encouraging murder
  • abolish the restriction on institution of proceedings for the offence of assisting or encouraging suicide
  • for the sake of completeness, consolidate the effect of section 5 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 with its amendments

Consultation with the 2006 Reissue of Halsbury's Laws of England (vol 11(4), para 1558) suggests that there are still offences other than murder for which the sentence is "fixed by law". Accordingly, references to such offences will not be included in the Schedule for the time being.

Clause 1(2) is framed, with modifications, on section 1(1) of the Homicide Act 1957.

Clause 3 is framed, with modifications, on section 12 of the Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1966.

Clause 4 is framed, with modifications, on section 2 of the Suicide Act 1961 as amended by section 59 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

Clauses 5 and 6 are framed, with modifications, on section 60(4) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009

See also[edit]