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 supply of a class A controlled drug, which is then freely and voluntarily self-administered by the person to whom it was supplied, and the administration of the drug then causes his death?’
Held: The appeal was allowed and the appellant’s conviction for manslaughter quashed. ‘The appellant supplied the drug to the deceased, who then had a choice, knowing the facts, whether to inject himself or not. The heroin was, as the certified question correctly recognises, self-administered, not jointly administered. The appellant did not administer the drug. Nor, for reasons already given, did the appellant cause the drug to be administered to or taken by the deceased. The answer to the certified question was: ‘In the case of a fully-informed and responsible adult, never’.
Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Baroness Hale of Richmond, Lord Carswell and Lord Mance
 UKHL 38, Times 19-Oct-2007,  4 All ER 1083,  3 WLR 612,  Inquest LR 234,  1 Cr App Rep 19,  Crim LR 222,  AC 269
Offences against the Person Act 1861 23
England and Wales
Cited – Regina v Franklin 1883
For unlawful act manslaughter, the unlawful act must itself be criminal. . .
Cited – Kennedy 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 . .
Cited – Regina v Cato and others CACD 15-Oct-1975
The defendant had injected the deceased with heroin. He appealed his conviction for manslaughter.
Held: Proof of manslaughter requires proof that the unlawful act substantially contributed to the death of the victim. . .
Cited – Regina 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 – 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 . .
Cited – Regina v Latif; Regina v Shahzad HL 23-Jan-1996
The defendant had been lured into the UK by the unlawful acts of customs officers. He claimed abuse of process.
Held: The category of cases in which the abuse of process principles can be applied is not closed. A customs officer committing an . .
Cited – Regina v Gillard 1988
The defendant was guilty of an offence of administering a poison where he sprayed it directly in the victim’s face. . .
Cited – Empress Car Company (Abertillery) Ltd v National Rivers Authority HL 22-Jan-1998
A diesel tank was in a yard which drained into a river. It was surrounded by a bund to contain spillage, but that protection was over ridden by an extension pipe from the tank to a drum outside the bund. Someone opened a tap on that pipe so that . .
Cited – Regina v Finlay CACD 8-Dec-2003
The defendant appealed his conviction for manslaughter. He had been found to have prepared heroin by loading it into a syringe and passing it to a friend.
Held: Even if ‘the appellant had not himself wielded the syringe, he would have . .
Cited – Regina 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 . .
Cited – Corr v IBC Vehicles Ltd HL 27-Feb-2008
The claimant’s husband had committed suicide. She sought damages for financial loss from his former employers under the 1976 Act. He had suffered a severe and debilitating injury working for them leading to his depression and suicide. The employers . .
Cited – Kane v HM Advocate; MacAngus v HM Advocate HCJ 27-Jan-2009
The defendants appealed against convictions for culpable homicide. In each case they had supplied a drug to the victim who had then self-administered the drug and died as a consequence.
Held: The appeals failed. The court considered whether . .
Cited – Gnango, Regina v SC 14-Dec-2011
The prosecutor appealed against a successful appeal by the defendant against his conviction for murder. He and an opponent had engaged in a street battle using guns. His opponent had shot an innocent passer by. The court was now asked as to whether . .
Cited – Hughes, Regina v SC 31-Jul-2013
Uninsured Driver Not Guilty of Causing Death
The appellant though an uninsured driver, was driving without fault when another vehicle veered across the road. The other driver died from his injuries, and the appellant convicted of causing his death whilst uninsured. At trial he succeeded in . .
Cited – Nicklinson and Another, Regina (on The Application of) SC 25-Jun-2014
Criminality of Assisting Suicide not Infringing
The court was asked: ‘whether the present state of the law of England and Wales relating to assisting suicide infringes the European Convention on Human Rights, and whether the code published by the Director of Public Prosecutions relating to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.259909