Bullard v The Queen: PC 1957

The question was whether there was evidence on which the jury could have found a verdict of manslaughter on grounds of provocation rather than the verdict of murder which had been returned.
Held: There is naturally a tendency for an appellate court to substitute its view of the facts for a possible view which might have been entertained by a properly directed jury. However, it had ‘long been settled law that if on the evidence, whether of the prosecution or of the defence, there is any evidence of provocation fit to be left to a jury, and whether or not this issue has been specifically raised at the trial by counsel for the defence and whether or not the accused has said in terms that he was provoked, it is the duty of the judge, after a proper direction, to leave it open to the jury to return a verdict of manslaughter if they are not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the killing was unprovoked.’
and ‘Every man on trial for murder has the right to have the issue of manslaughter left to the jury if there is any evidence upon which such a verdict can be given. To deprive him of this right must of necessity constitute a grave miscarriage of justice and it is idle to speculate what verdict the jury would have reached.’
‘But there is no magic formula and provided that on a reading of the summing up as a whole the jury are left in no doubt where the onus lies no complaint can properly be made.’


Lord Tucker


[1957] AC 635, (1958) 42 Cr App R 1, [1957] 3 WLR 656




ApprovedRegina v Hopper CCA 1914
Lord Reading CJ said: ‘We do not assent to the suggestion that as the defence throughout the trial was accident, the judge was justified in not putting the question as to manslaughter. Whatever the line of defence adopted by counsel at the trial of . .

Cited by:

CitedIan Cauldero and Nigill Francois v The State PC 28-Sep-1999
PC (Trinidad and Tobago) The defendants appealed their convictions for murder. They complained at to the judge’s direction as to a statement and as to intent, where they had said that the gun had been wrestled . .
CitedRegina v Rossiter CACD 1992
The defendant was charged with a murder. The very manner of the killing suggested that he was at the time of the killing in a state of uncontrolled frenzy. However, Russell LJ said: ‘We take the law to be that wherever there is material which is . .
CitedVan Dongen and Another, Regina v CACD 5-Jul-2005
The defendant brothers appealed convictions for murder. They had pleaded self defence. The injuries on the deceased suggested a substantial number of wounds were inflicted when he was in a curled up defensive post.
Held: The provocation . .
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 . .
ApprovedRegina v Porritt CCA 1961
Ashworth J said: ‘As has already been said, the issue of manslaughter was not raised at the trial, but there is ample authority for the view that notwithstanding the fact that a particular issue is not raised by the defence, it is incumbent upon the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice

Updated: 05 November 2022; Ref: scu.211363