The defense of provocation is a partial defense, pertinent only to murder. If successfully pleaded, liability is reduced to manslaughter. For the defense to succeed there are three requirements: (i) There must have been some act(s) or word(s) of provocation (ii) The defendant must have lost his self control (iii) The circumstances must be such that a reasonable man would have reacted as the defendant did, the requirements come into light from section 3 of the Homicide Act 1957. However great contentions arise over the latter two requirements which remain highly subjective and value laden on discussion. The excusing element of the doctrine of provocation is derived from the subjective requirement evidence that D was provoked to lose self-control. Reason being to exonerate the individual from the murder offense, where the entirety of fault lay not solely on the defendant. It is important to stress at this stage that the Homicide Act, requires that the accused was provoked to lose self-control; the sole fact that self control was lost will not suffice for a successful defense.
[...] The decision in Morgan Smith has enlarged the scope of the defense of provocation, it is prima facia obvious the leave it has taken regarding the traditional views on the defense of provocation, i.e., from Camplin, Morhall and section 3. The majority in the House of Lords reasoned that Lord Diplock, in Camplin had not confined those characteristics relevant to self-control to age and sex. However, Lord Hoffman recognized that if there was no limit to the characteristics which could be taken into account, there was a danger that the objective element would be worn out I believe that this is rather contradictory of Lord Hoffman as he stated earlier in his judgment that the jury remain ‘sovereign', well why cant their assessments be to whatever limit they feel necessary? [...]
[...] The majority decision in Smith allowed this overlap, and escape the burden of proof required by section 2 by raising the provocation defense on its own or in conjunction with diminished responsibility, and introducing medical evidence of an abnormal condition impairing the defendant's power of self-control. In conclusion it can be said that the approach of the majority in Smith means that the accused is to be judged by his own impaired powers of self- control and questions the need for objective element of the defense. [...]
[...] - The Court of Appeal held: that in deciding whether Williams had lost his self control, the jury were entitled to take into account those words and conduct of the father directed against Malcolm which had come to notice of William. Provocation was not limited to his own personal experience of his fathers conduct. A.J.Ashworth DOCTRINE OF PROVOCATION”  Camb LJ 300 A.J.Ashworth DOCTRINE OF PROVOCATION”  Camb LJ 300 the Royal Commission on Capital Punishment (Cmd para. 145) A.J.Ashworth DOCTRINE OF PROVOCATION”  Camb LJ 300  AC 705  2All ER 201 A.J.Ashworth DOCTRINE OF PROVOCATION”  Camb LJ 301 Lord Simons seemed to accept that the jury should place the reasonable man circumstances in which the accused was placed” 38 Cr.App.R at p.139 Lord Diplock stated: "When assessing the effect provocation would have on a reasonable man, the jury are to consider that the reasonable man has the power of self-control to be expected of an ordinary person of the same sex and age as the accused and sharing such other characteristics as jury think would affect the gravity of the provocation to him. [...]
[...] Individual peculiarities which bear on the gravity of the provocation should be taken into account, whereas individual peculiarities bearing on the accused's level of self- control should not The question which came before the House of Lords in DPP v Camplin (1978) was whether the rule in Bedder v DPP (1954) which adumbrated the idea that the ‘reasonable person' was not to be endowed with the defendants characteristics in which the House of Lords approved that the jury should ignore the fact that the youth was impotent when considering whether the deceased's conducted amounted to such provocation as would cause a reasonable or ordinary person to do as the defendant did. [...]
[...] However on the other hand the Court of Appeal considered mental impairments, in case such as Ahluwalia (1992), Humphreys (1995), Thornton (1996) and parker (1997) The issue arose for the consideration of the House of Lords in the case of Smith (2000) During the course of an argument the defendant Morgan James Smith stabbed his friend, McCullagh several times with a kitchen knife killing him, in his trial Smith put forward a number of defenses including diminished responsibility and provocation. [...]
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