Read the case of R v Dawson, Nolan and Walmsley (1985) 81 Cr App R 150 and using this case ONLY answer the following questions.
10 marks will be awarded for correct grammar, punctuation and spelling.
1. Where did the original trial take place? (2 marks)
2. Who was the original trial judge? (2 marks)
3. What offences was Nolan convicted of at his original trial? (2 marks)
4. Who were the appellants and the respondent in the Court of Appeal? (2 marks)
5. On what date was the decision handed down by the Court of Appeal? (2 marks)
6. Who were counsels for the appellants and the respondent in the Court of Appeal? (2 marks)
7. Who were the judges in the Court of Appeal? (2 marks) LLB: LEGAL SKILLS COURSEWORK
8. Which solicitor took part in the proceedings? (2 marks)
9. How do you know that the judgement in the Court of Appeal was a reserved judgment (a judgment given at a later date after full consideration of the arguments)? (3 marks)
10. Did the trial judge consider that scientific proof equates with legal proof? (4 marks)
11. Why did Watkins LJ refer to the case of Rapier (1980) 70 Cr.App.R.17? (3 marks)
12. How do you know that Rapier (1980) 70 Cr.App.R.17 was heard in the Court of
Appeal? (3 marks)
13. What did Watkins LJ say about the trial judge’s decision not to withdraw the case from the jury? (5 marks)
14. Was the appeal on grounds 4 and 5 successful? (4 marks)
15. Identify which of the following were material facts of the Court of Appeal decision. (5 marks)
(a) Dawson’s gun was a replica rather than a real gun.
(b) Dawson, Nolan and Walmsley did not know that the victim had a bad heart.
(c) There were no independent witnesses as to what had taken place when Dawson, Nolan and Walmsley confronted Mr Black.
(d) The medical evidence did not rule out the possibility that the victim’s heart attack was unconnected to the robbery.
(e) The trial judge had misdirected the jury.
16. Why were the sentences not reduced, despite the convictions for manslaughter being quashed? (3 marks)
17. Explain whether each of the following statements is part of the ratio decidendi of R v Dawson, Nolan and Walmsley (1985) 81 Cr App R 150. If you think a statement is part of the ratio decidendi, explain why. If you think a statement is not part of the ratio decidendi, explain why. (15 marks)
(a) Dawson, Nolan and Walmsley did not know that the victim had a bad heart.
(b) ‘Harm’ in the context of the second element of manslaughter means physical harm and does not include emotional disturbance.
(c) ‘Harm’ in the context of the second element of manslaughter includes injury to the person through the operation of shock emanating from fright, as this can produce devastating and lasting effects, for instance upon the nervous system.
(d) The trial judge had misdirected the jury.
(e) In deciding whether the reasonable man would have seen the risk of harm, the test can only be undertaken upon the basis of the knowledge gained by a sober and reasonable man as though he were present at the scene of and watched the unlawful act being performed.
18. The second element of the offence of manslaughter is ‘the unlawful act must be one that all sober and reasonable people would realise was likely to cause some harm, albeit not serious harm’(bottom of p5). If the jury at the trial of Dawson, Nolan and Walmsley had been directed by Watkins LJ, what law and facts would they have taken into consideration in assessing whether this element existed and what do you think their conclusion would have been? (12 marks)
19. Joe had just got to the front of a very long slow queue to a burger van when Mavis, an old lady with a walking stick, stepped in front of him. Mavis said ‘Do you mind if I go next? I have a bad knee so can’t stand in that queue?’ Joe told her to wait her turn like everyone else, but Mavis ignored him and ordered a burger. Joe pushed Mavis (an unlawful act) which caused Mavis’s knee to buckle. She fell to the ground hitting her head on the concrete pavement and died.
Has Joe fulfilled the 2nd element of manslaughter? (10 marks)
20. Would your answer be different if, instead of Mavis, it had been Dan a 15 year old boy, who had gone to the front of the queue? Dan had said ‘Let me in, ‘cause I’m starving.’ and Joe had pushed Dan in the same way he had pushed Mavis. Dan had also had a bad knee, which buckled. He had fallen to the ground, hitting his head on the concrete pavement and died. (7 marks)