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For more than three centuries the criminal law has given rise to a divergent set of approaches to the crime of homicide. Whereas the law of murder has not conceptually changed,the crime of manslaughter has resulted in some forms of homicide being visited with relatively minor penalties. These various categories of unlawful killing present considerable problems relating to intention, or lack of it, and the culpability of those whose behaviour, while lacking in evident malice, is characterised by the grossest recklessness. The reaction of the relatives of victims is generally simpler. They frequently find it impossible to understand how those who kill by dangerous or drunken driving may receive comparatively lenient sentences, while those convicted of manslaughter following a drunken brawl may be dealt with more severely, and yet others, convicted of so-called 'mercy killings', are subject to the mandatory penalty of life imprisonment. This book addresses the powerful and controversial arguments for the current distinctions between murder, manslaughter and other specific categories of crime to be abolished and subsumed within a single crime of culpable homicide. In the course of this analysis the authors consider a number of issues of great contemporary importance, including the presentation of expert evidence in cases involving unexplained infant death, corporate killing, and the question of the defences available to the accused, including self-defence and provocation, where popular notions of what is reasonable or justifiable may be at variance with legal precedent. While this book aims to consider criminal homicide in its social, historical and legal setting, it also goes far beyond in setting out the case for radical reform.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781841134857
ISBN-10: 1841134856
Format: Hardback
(234mm x 156mm x 17mm)
Pages: 216
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publish Date: 19-Jan-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Professor Terence Morris

Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC is a member of the English bar,a well-known writer on a wide range of legal matters, and the distinguished chair of many commissions of inquiry. Terence Morris was for many years a Professor of Criminology at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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