Shake-up for murder laws proposed

It’s rare that English Law leades the way in chaging the law so that it is more socially just.  Usually, the law of Scotland is one-step ahead of English Law (another natable example of where this has been the case is regarding rape).  However, the Attorney-general, Baroness Scotland, has outlined proposed plans to change the way murder is defined in law.

As it stands vitcims of long-term and systematic domestic violence who eventually snap and kill their partner are really guilty of murder, rather than manslaughter.  However, under the proposed plans cases such as this would have special defences open to them which would lead to a manslaughter, rather than murdre, conviction.

This is more appropriate and how it should have been for a long time.

Defendants who successfully claim they were “seriously wronged” by the “words and conduct” of their victim would instead be convicted of manslaughter.  Also, under the plan, long-term domestic abuse victims can also use a partial defence of “fear of serious violence”.

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