Specialist Murder Lawyers, London and Manchester
Olliers Solicitors has vast experience of defending murder and manslaughter allegations. The firm’s reputation for committed and rigorous defence work means that we attract some of the heaviest and serious criminal cases in the country.
Offences of murder and manslaughter vary immensely and can include complex conspiracies, gang related killings, domestic violence, fights that result in death and cases of child cruelty.
Medical evidence, telephone connectivity, forensic evidence involving DNA or fingerprints and psychiatric evidence can all come into play in a murder investigation. Complex cases may involve vast swathes of unused material.
The team at Olliers have acted in excess of 60 murder cases over the years and we have dealt with almost every imaginable scenario.
Murder is an offence under the common law of England and Wales. It is committed when a person:
- of sound mind and discretion (i.e. sane);
- unlawfully kills (i.e. not self-defence);
- any reasonable creature (human being);
- in being (born alive and breathing through its own lungs);
- under the Queen’s Peace (i.e. not in war);
- with intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm (GBH).
Accordingly it is not necessary for a defendant to intend to kill the victim, merely that the intention was to cause serious injury.
Defences to Murder
There are a number of partial defences to murder which if successfully argued reduce the offending to voluntary manslaughter.
In criminal law, diminished responsibility is a potential defence by which defendants argue that although they committed the offence they should not be held fully criminally liable for doing so, as their mental functions were “diminished”.
If successfully argued it allows discretion when sentencing, for example, a hospital order can be imposed to ensure treatment in suitable cases.
Section 4 of the Homicide Act 1957 reduces an offence murder to manslaughter where the survivor of a joint suicide pact, took part in the killing of another person also involved in that pact or was a party to that other person being killed by a third person.
Joint Enterprise allows individuals to be charged and convicted of criminal offences when they are not the primary offender but a secondary offender acting together with the primary. The law has been interpreted extremely widely previously enabling secondary offenders to be convicted simply if they had ‘reasonable foresight’ of what the primary offender may do. This aspect was often applied in murder cases to fringe members of group attacks who were lesser involved but shown to have had some foresight that someone could have been killed or seriously injured.
This has lead to a number of questionable murder convictions of defendants specifically in murder cases where their actions were minimal. This position has now been changed in the Supreme Court ruling of R v Jogee; Ruddock v The Queen. The appeal judgement restricted the scope of the law and it will now be harder for the CPS to convict such fringe participants in such cases.
Olliers Solicitors – Specialist Criminal Defence
Olliers provide specialist advice and representation throughout England and Wales.
We are the Manchester Legal Awards Crime Team of the Year 2017 and ranked as a Top Tier criminal firm in the 2016 edition of the Legal 500 and Chambers Directory 2017.