Regina v Morhall: HL 21 Jul 1995

The defendant was a glue sniffer. He had been taunted, and eventually attacked one of those villifying him. The judge excluded from the jury that the characteristics he suffered as a glue sniffer which might affect his response to provocation.
Held: A verdict of manslaughter was substituted. For the test under section 3, the jury should be directed by reference to a person with ordinary self control, but otherwise with such of the defendant’s characteristics as would affect the gravity of the provocation. The personal characteristics of a defendant which might affect the gravity of provocation were to be taken in account. The exclusion of the direct effect of intoxication on susceptibility to provocation did not mean that it was excluded when the addiction may be taken into account as affecting the gravity of the provocation. Despite the express words of the statute, to speak of the degree of self-control attributable to the ordinary person is ‘certainly less likely to mislead’ than to do so with reference to the reasonable person. ‘suppose that a man who has been in prison for a sexual offence, for example rape, has after his release been taunted by another man with reference to that offence. It is difficult to see why, on ordinary principles, his characteristic or history as an offender of that kind should not be taken into account as going to the gravity of the provocation.’


Lord Goff of Chieveley


Times 21-Jul-1995, Gazette 31-Aug-1995, [1995] 3 WLR 330, [1995] 2 CR App R 502, [1996] AC 90


Homicide Act 1957 3


England and Wales


Appeal fromRegina v Morhall CACD 23-Aug-1993
A self induced addiction to glue sniffing is inconsistent with a reasonable man. Judge to say if a characteristic is consistent with the reasonable man test for the purposes of judging provocation. . .
AppliedRegina (Director of Public Prosecutions) v Camplin HL 1978
The court considered the direction to be given as to the existence of provocation so as to reduce a charge of murder to one of manslaughter. The reasonable man in the definition should be one with the defendant’s mental condition. ‘The judge should . .

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Rowland CACD 12-Dec-2003
The appellant had been convicted of murder. He sought to have substituted a conviction for manslaughter following Smith, and in the light of evidence as to his mental characteristics.
Held: ‘in the context of the law of provocation, the . .
CitedRegina v Smith (Morgan James) HL 27-Jul-2000
The defendant had sought to rely upon the defence of provocation. He had suffered serious clinical depression.
Held: When directing a jury on the law of provocation, it was no longer appropriate to direct the jury to disregard any particular . .
CitedHer Majestys Attorney General for Jersey v Holley PC 15-Jun-2005
(Jersey) The defendant appealed his conviction for murder, claiming a misdirection on the law of provocation. A chronic alcoholic, he had admitted killing his girlfriend with an axe. Nine law lords convened to seek to reconcile conflicting decisions . .
CitedJames, Regina v; Regina v Karimi CACD 25-Jan-2006
The defendants appealed their convictions for murder, saying that the court had not properly guided the jury on provocation. The court was faced with apparently conflicting decision of the House of Lords (Smith) and the Privy Council (Holley).
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.87382