There danger. In the circumstances that have

There are several crimes that Rosa
could be found liable of, it is important that these are all thoroughly
investigated.  These can range from murder
through to partial defences of murder, voluntary manslaughter, and ultimately
looking at involuntary manslaughter. This will be done by applying the tests were
set by prior cases in the courts, additionally by finding and applying the Mens
rea and Actus reus of the different crimes. This approach will be taken will
progress form the most serious to the least serious, so in this case we will
begin with the crime of murder.

 

It is pertinent to mention that
under laws of the United Kingdom, an omission does not attach to criminal
liability.1
However. Criminal liability can attach if the defendant had a duty to act.

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There are four key times when a person will be found to have had a duty to act
under UK law these are: Statutory duties, Contractual duties, Assumption of
responsibility and Creation of danger. In the circumstances that have been laid
out in the case, it can be seen that Rosa has in fact met the exception of
these duties; Statutory duties of her being the landlord and manager of the
properties, under the Defective Premise’s Act 1971 and potentially the creation
of the danger by failing to have the fire alarms inspected.

 

A further key point that need take
affect here is the laws stance on causation, this is where the courts will look
at whether the defendant is responsible for the harm, this is done a key test
known as the ‘But For’ test, this was set out in the case of . . . . . . . . . It
states that the jury may find that if the harm would have been caused irrelevant
of the actions of the defendant, in the same way and in the same time period
then they cannot find the defendant to be liable of the actions under British
Law. 2
In these circumstances, it can be seen that the actions of Rosa would have not led
to causation as her action would lead to the death and if she had not failed to
inspect the alarms the residents would have been alerted to the fire and would
have had the opportunity to escape.

 

As stated above the first potential
crime that will be looked at is that of murder. This was defined by Coke (1799)
as:  when the victim is a person, the
killing was unlawful and an intent to cause GBH or the death if the victim is
present. The act was in breach of the Queen’s peace and it resulted in the
victim’s death.3  We can see that when we look at the Actus Reus
of murder it consists of four key elements; 1. the victim is a person 2. it is
under the Queen’s Peace 3. causing the victims death, and 4. the killing was
unlawful. When we apply this to the case that we are currently looking at we
can test these four points against Rosa’s actions to see if she would meet the
Actus Reus for murder before we move on to test for the Mens Rea. We can see
that the twenty victims were indeed people meaning that the first part of the
test for murder is met. Moving on to the next point, we have to look if it was
against the Queen’s peace, this means that the killing was against the protection
of the monarch, as the Queen’s peace refers to the protection that is given to
all citizens by the head of state, in this case the Queen. Looking at these
circumstances we can indeed see that these killings were against the Queen’s
peace.  When we move to look for the third
point we can see that the acts did indeed cause the death of the victims as
they were unawares as to the lack of fire alarms and they were not alerted to
the danger of the fire so they were unable to escape and were entrapped in the
fire, so therefore the act of not arranging and ensuring that there was indeed
adequate inspection of the fire prevention equipment was a factor in the death
of the 20 victims. As for the final part of the Actus Reus, the killing was
indeed unlawful as they do not meet and off the partial deference to murder
that are laid out in the following paragraphs, discussing voluntary
manslaughter.

 

So, from looking at the facts of
the case and the Actus Reus for murder it can be seen that she does indeed meet
these requirements for this part of the crime, however, she still need to meet
the other half of the requirements to be able to be charged with the crime of
murder.

 

The next stage to advance onto to
look at is that of the Mens Rea.  The
Mens rea for murder is set out as needing to have “The intent to kill or to
cause GBH” 4
From looking at the case and the way that her actions were carried out and the
reasoning of trying to avoid a fine, we can see that she does not have the
intention to kill the residents in the block of flats. As for the intent to
cause GBH we need to look at what is called the implied intent, to find implied
intent the jury must look at what is called the Woollin test this sets out the
requirements that means the jury, may find intent. This test says that “The
outcome must be virtually certain and the defendant actually foresaw the result
of these circumstances” if these two conditions are met then the jury may find
intent however, there is no requirement that they do find it.  From looking at the test above and the facts
of the case it is reasonable to say that the outcome was not certain, in that
if the alarms and detectors were deactivated or go uninspected it is not reasonably
certain to expect that everyone would die in a fire and as to the defendant
actually foreseeing this outcome it is highly unlikely as she only failed to
arrange a inspection in the communal areas and no the flats individually so
this goes to show that there is still some clear and concise effort to reduce
the risk of death as she has ensured the felt have got the relevant fire
detection devices checked and inspected.

 

So, looking at the facts stated,
two elements of the crime, demonstrates that Rosa has indeed met the
requirements for the Actus Reus however, this fails on the Mens rea as she does
not meet the necessary requirements for the intention to commit murder. This
means that she would not be liable for the charge of murder as the elements of
the crime are not by her act.

 

The next offence that we will look
at is that of Voluntary manslaughter, this is a partial defence to the crime of
murder which as we saw above Rosa was not liable for. This means that again
Rosa Is not capable of being charge with the crime of voluntary manslaughter as
there is no murder that has taken place that she would need this partial
defence for in the first place. This however does not entirely absolve her of
the crime of manslaughter as we are able to look at the crime of involuntary
manslaughter.

 

The next major aspect of the case
that we will look at and the attached crime is that of involuntary
manslaughter, more specifically Gross Negligence Manslaughter. This is different to the above in that it is not a partial
defence to murder but rather a crime in and of itself. Gross negligence manslaughter has a
test that was laid out in Adomako 19955 which
states that there must be four circumstances met for it to be considered as
Gross negligence manslaughter, these are as follows; The defendant owed the
victim a duty, the defendant breached that duty, that breach of duty by the
defendant was the thing that caused the victims death and finally the breach, negligence,
was that of a gross nature.” It is now to look at the facts of the case, if we
look at the circumstances that are laid out in the case before we can see that
Rosa indeed owed a duty to the victims. This is set out in section 4(1) of the
Defective Premises Act 1971where it says:

“(1)
Where premises are let under a tenancy which puts on the landlord an obligation
to the tenant for the maintenance or repair of the premises, the landlord owes
to all persons who might reasonably be expected to be affected by defects in
the state of the premises a duty to take such care as is reasonable in all the
circumstances to see that they are reasonably safe from personal injury or from
damage to their property caused by a relevant defect.”6

 

This subsection of the act above states that due to the circumstances of
the rent it is on the burden of the landlord to ensure that the occupants and
persons that are reasonably likely to be there are free from danger.  When looking at out specific set of
circumstances it is vital to see that this means that Rosa needed ensure that
all the tenants and any guest that are reasonably expected to be there are free
from the danger, in this case caused by the defective smoke alarm.

There is more to support this in that the case, R v Singh 19997
the defendant managed a block of flats where one of the tenants died from
carbon monoxide poisoning and it was found that it was due to faulty applicence
within their lodgings this led to the death, and the court held that there was
a duty of care from the defendant to ensure the residents safety.

 

The second stage for the Gross Negligence Manslaughter test is that,
‘Did the defendant breach that duty’ and in these circumstances, it can be seen
as breached as she had specifically failed to arrange the inspection of the
fire alarms in a communal areas of the block of flats in an attempt to save
money, therefore breaching her duty of reasonable care to her tenants.

The next step in following the test concerns weather Rosa’s act of not
arranging an inspection of the fire alarms, her breach of duty, was the factor
that caused the death, and in these circumstances, we can see that it is indeed
that fact which caused the death of the victims. This can be seen because it is
stated in the case facts that “Within minutes the
outer wall of the building is on fire and owing to the lack of active smoke
detectors, no one within is alerted to the danger.”8 We can see that from this
quote it is specifically referencing that the tenants in the flat were not alerted
to the danger, specifically due to lack of Rosa having active smoke alarms in
the area of the flats where the fire begun. From this it is clear to see that it
was indeed Rosa’s action that lead to the death of the residents in the flat. The
final point that is required to be met as per the test, that was set out in
Adomako, is to see if the negligence was that of a gross manor.  We can see that the negligence in this case
was gross as the acts of Rosa resulted in the death of 20 tenants, as it was
said in R v Bateman9

 

As shown
above Rosa has met all the requirements for the act of Gross Negligence
Manslaughter, this means that the she could potentially be found to be guilt of
this crime in a court.

 

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