Regina v Dias: CACD 13 Dec 2001

The defendant appealed against his conviction for manslaughter. Both the deceased and the defendant had injected themselves with syringes prepared by D. The judge directed the jury that the self-injection of the heroin by the deceased was an unlawful act and that it followed that aiding and abetting such an offence made Dias criminally liable as a secondary party for that unlawful act which had resulted in death. The trial judge directed the jury to ask themselves whether they were sure ‘that the defendant assisted and deliberately encouraged (the deceased) to take the heroin.’
Held: It was not possible to rely on the unlawful supply of the heroin because ‘the chain of causation was probably broken by (the) intervening act of the deceased injecting himself’.
The court saw no effective distinction between the Dalby and Kennedy cases. For manslaughter purposes, the unlawful act was ‘essentially the injection of the heroin rather than the possession of it’. The defendant could only have been guilty of manslaughter as a secondary party and not as a principal. If that was the position, then ‘who [was] the principal of manslaughter?’ As there was no offence of self-manslaughter, the court considered it was difficult to see how the defendant could be guilty of that offence as a secondary party merely because he encouraged or assisted the deceased to inject himself with the drug. The appeal was, therefore, allowed


Lord Justice Keene


[2002] 2 Cr App R 96, [2001] EWCA Crim 2986, [2001] All ER (D) 198




England and Wales


AppliedRegina 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 Dalby CACD 1982
Dalby and O’Such were drug addicts. Dalby had obtained 32 tablets of Diconal lawfully. Dalby supplied O’Such with some tablets and probably certain further tablets during the evening. Each injected himself intravenously and they then went out . .

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Rogers CACD 14-Mar-2003
The defendant appealed a conviction for manslaughter and assault under the 1861 Act. He held a belt around a friend’s arm whilst the friend injected heroin into his own vein. The friend later died from the overdose. He said the use of the tourniquet . .
CitedKennedy v Regina CACD 17-Mar-2005
The court considered when it was appropriate to find someone guilty of manslaughter where that person has been involved in the supply of a Class A controlled drug, which is then self administered by the person to whom it is supplied, and the . .
CitedRegina v Kennedy HL 17-Oct-2007
The defendant had been convicted of manslaughter. He had supplied a class A drug to a friend who then died taking it. The House was asked ‘When is it appropriate to find someone guilty of manslaughter where that person has been involved in the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 07 June 2022; Ref: scu.180388