Attorney-General’s Reference (No 3 of 1994): HL 24 Jul 1997

The defendant stabbed a pregnant woman. The child was born prematurely and died. The attack had been directed at the mother, and the proper offence was manslaughter.
Held: The only questions which need to be addressed are (1) whether the act was done intentionally, (2) whether it was unlawful, (3) whether it was also dangerous because it was likely to cause harm to somebody and (4) whether that unlawful and dangerous act caused the death. Lord Hope: ‘an embryo is in reality a separate organism from the mother from the moment of its conception.’
A foetus is ‘neither a distinct person separate from its mother, nor merely an adjunct of the mother, but was a unique organism to which existing principles could not necessarily be applied’

Gazette 24-Sep-1997, [1998] 1 Cr App Rep 911, [1997] UKHL 31, [1998] AC 245, [1997] 3 All ER 936, [1997] 3 WLR 421, [1997] Crim LR 829, Times 25-Jul-1997
House of Lords, Bailii
England and Wales
Appeal fromAttorney-General’s Reference (No 3 of 1994) CACD 29-Nov-1995
The defendant was convicted of murder. He stabbed a pregnant woman, causing the premature birth and then death of her child.
Held: Murder is a possible charge for a wound inflicted on an infant en ventre sa mere, but dying after a live birth. . .
CitedRegina v Cunningham HL 8-Jul-1981
A defendant may be convicted of murder if it is established either (1) that he had an intent to kill or (2) that he had an intent to cause really serious bodily injury.
Intention is a state of mind which can never be proved as a fact. It can . .
CitedRegina v Mitchell 1983
An unlawful and dangerous acted directed at one person but injuring somebody else can found a charge of manslaughter. . .
CitedRegina v Pembliton CCCR 1874
The defendant was fighting in the street. He picked up a large stone and threw it at the people he had been fighting with. He missed and broke a window causing damage of a value exceeding pounds 5. The jury convicted the defendant, although finding . .
CitedRegina v Latimer 1886
Two men quarrelled in a public house. One struck at the other with his belt. The glancing blow bounced off and struck the prosecutrix, wounding her severely. He was prosecuted for having unlawfully and maliciously wounded her, contrary to section 20 . .
CitedHyam v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 21-Mar-1974
It is sufficient to raise a prima facie case of murder (subject to entire or partial excuses such as self-defence or provocation) for it to be proved that the defendant did the act which caused the death intending to kill the victim or to cause him . .
CitedRegina v Vickers CCA 1957
The appellant, having broken into a dwelling-house to commit burglary, came upon the occupier whom he struck in a way which according to the medical evidence could have been inflicted with a moderate degree of violence. The victim died as a result. . .
CitedRegina v Church CCA 1965
The defendant was convicted of manslaughter. After he had been unable to satisfy his female victim sexually, he had become angry and had seriously assaulted her. He mistakenly thought she was dead and tipped her in the river where she drowned.
Cited by:
CitedRegina v Kennedy CACD 31-Jul-1998
The defendant was convicted of manslaughter having handed a loaded a syringe with heroin and handed it to a friend who injected himself, and later died.
Held: The defendant had gone beyond the minimum necessary for criminal liability. All it . .
CitedRegina v Woollin HL 2-Apr-1998
The defendant appealed against his conviction for the murder of his child. He had thrown the child to the floor, hitting the head. He said that he had not intended to kill the child.
Held: On a murder charge, where the short direction on . .
CitedRegina (Smeaton) v Secretary of State for Health and Others Admn 18-Apr-2002
The claimant challenged the Order as regards the prescription of the morning-after pill, asserting that the pill would cause miscarriages, and that therefore the use would be an offence under the 1861 Act.
Held: ‘SPUC’s case is that any . .
CitedRegina v Coutts HL 19-Jul-2006
The defendant was convicted of murder. Evidence during the trial suggested a possibility of manslaughter, but neither the defence nor prosecution proposed the alternate verdict. The defendant now appealed saying that the judge had an independent . .
CitedHuman Rights Commission for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland : Abortion) SC 7-Jun-2018
The Commission challenged the compatibility of the NI law relating to banning nearly all abortions with Human Rights Law. It now challenged a decision that it did not have standing to bring the case.
Held: (Lady Hale, Lord Kerr and Lord Wilson . .
CitedCrowter and Others, Regina (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for Health And Social Care Admn 23-Sep-2021
Foetus has no Established Human Rights
The Claimants sought a declaration that section 1(1)(d) of the Abortion Act 1967, as amended, is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’), as well as some other remedies. The claimant had Down’s Syndrome, and complained the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.78009