Manslaughter by loss of control: sentencing primary victims who kill

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This article critiques the definitive guideline on sentencing loss of control manslaughter in England and Wales. The guideline fails to address adequately the circumstances of victims of abuse who kill (primary victims). The article suggests that the primary victim is disadvantaged by the guideline in three ways. First, the guideline includes a policy against considering at sentencing factors that have been assessed at trial in establishing whether the partial defence applies (policy against double counting). Secondly, the guideline does not address the impact of power imbalances on the primary victim’s decision to carry a weapon for the purposes of assessing culpability. Third, there is a lack of guidance relating to the relevance of domestic abuse as aggravating/mitigating factors in the case of primary victims. Recommendations for developing the guideline are advanced throughout.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-314
JournalCriminal Law Review
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2019


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