It is a common law offence and its types are defined bythe House of Lords in DPP V Newbury and Jones1(1977) AC 500: The act must be Intentional, Unlawful, dangerous andit must cause the death of the victim.In order to make a person liable for the offence, theprosecution must prove that the act is an intentional act and not an omission.In the case of R V Lowe (1973) QB 702 it was held that an omission can never besufficient for the conviction of unlawful act manslaughter.The defendant must commit a criminal offence, whichmeans that the act should be unlawful in the eyes of law. In the case of Lamb (1967)2 QB 981,the Court of appeal held thatthere should be some proof of criminal offence and in this case there was noproof so the defendant cannot be liable for the offense.The act committed must be dangerous from the pointof view of reasonable man and not the defendant.
Lord Salmon stated in the caseof Church (1966) 1 QB 59 that: “In judging whether the act was dangerous the test isnot did the accused recognize that it was dangerous but would all sober andreasonable people recognize its danger”.The final requirement is that the defendant must causethe death of the victim and there should be no intervening act which breaks thechain of causation. In the given question Keith has injected Janis withthe syringe of heroine and Kurt has injected himself but the syringe isprepared by Keith, both kurt and Janis were willing to inject heroine into theirbody. According tothe case of Cato 1976 1 WLR 110 when the victim dies as a result of injectingthe class A drug by the defendant then it is considered as maliciousadministration of a poison or noxious thing so as to endanger life or inflictgrievous bodily harm, contrary to sec.
23 of the offences against the personsact 1861.The consent of victim is no defense in this case. So in this case Keith will be liable for the death ofJanis and will be convicted for the offence of unlawful act manslaughter andaccording to my viewpoint also Keith should be liable as he may not be knowingthat the heroine is contaminated but he committed a unlawful act by injectingheroine into the body of Janis which was an intentional and dangerous act andit causes death of Janis, so he should be liable for the same. The act of keithwill be considered unlawful for the purpose of unlawful act manslaughter.
On the other hand, Kurt self injected the syringe ofheroine which was prepared by Keith. The court of appeal held in the case ofDias (2001) EWCA Crim 2986 that: “Neither thestatute nor the common law provided for an offence of injecting oneself with acontrolled drug and thus the defendant could not be secondary party to this” In the case of Rogers (2003) EWCA Crim 945 the Courtof appeal held that self injection by victim does not amount to an offence, sothe defendant cannot be liable as a secondary party to that injection.However, in the case of Finlay (2003) EWCA Crim 3868the court of appeal took a different view that the defendant could be thesecondary party to the injection and can be made liable for the offence even ifit was self injection by the victim because such self injection will beconsidered foreseeable.This confusion was cleared by the House Of Lords in theleading case of Kennedy (No. 2) (2007) UKHL 38:The defendant cannot be made liable for the offence ofunlawful act manslaughter if the victim died because of self injection as the voluntaryact of the victim breaks the chain of causation and supplying controlled drugs tothe victim will not amount to unlawful act for the purpose of unlawful act manslaughter.So in this case keith will not be liable for the deathof kurt and in my viewpoint also kurt was fully willing to self inject the heroineinto his body, the act of supplying the syringe of heroine to kurt does not amountto be unlawful for the act of unlawful act manslaughter.
1 1977)AC 500