On wronged” are very broad and concerning.

On the other hand, if we focus
on the second trigger mentioned in section 55 (4), it is obvious the “new
defence is more limited than the old one but it is still too accommodating”1.
This is because we need to ask questions
such as why the law still provides an excuse for killing someone in anger? The
words “extremely grave character” and “justifiable sense of being wronged” are
very broad and concerning. For example, in R
v Doughty (1986), where a father killed his baby because he was crying too
much would
no longer be covered under the new defence whereas, previously, the judge said
“the baby’s crying could amount to a provocative act within the meaning of s.3
of the Homicide Act 1957″2. Similarly, in the case of
R v Davies 1975, where the defendant
killed his wife after seeing her lover walk towards her place of work. “It was
held that the act of the lover walking to her workplace
could amount to a provocative act and the issue of provocation should have been
put before the jury. The provocative act need not be deliberately aimed at
provoking the victim, nor must the provocation come from the victim”3.

The
issue of sexual infidelity was considered in the case of R v Clinton (2012), where it was decided that sexual infidelity can
be used as a qualifying trigger. It was held that “Where other factors count as
a qualifying trigger, sexual infidelity may be taken into account in assessing
whether things are done or said amounted
to the circumstance of an extremely grave
character and gave D a justifiable sense of being wronged under s.55(4)”4.
 Despite, provisions prohibiting sexual
infidelity as a qualifying trigger, a lot of criticism were raised regarding
this matter. As seen in R v Mohammed
(2005), where the judge can find a qualifying trigger by finding his
daughter in bed with a man. This could be seen as extremely grave matter due to
his religious convictions and he may have a justifiable sense of being
seriously wronged. Even though, the jury could think this is more of a revenge
killing which is also banned by the legislation due to the lack of precision in
its phrasing. But at the end of the day,
why should killing someone in anger still be acceptable in the criminal law if
its goal is to stop individuals from murdering one another. Therefore, New
Zealand abolished their provision based on anger last year. Instead of
differentiating between different type of murders we should just take a stand
against any type of murder that is done because of losing their temper as it is
not a justifiable reason to be exempt from the punishment of killing someone.

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“The
sad irony is that in seizing the ideological initiative, Parliament created a
clause so unclear and impractical that the courts have been constrained to
forge a very broad interpretation”5.
The result is that the misperception has resulted in the “taking of a retrograde
step”6.
This means that is more likely that the defendant will use sexual infidelity in
his defence and present it in front of
the jury which resulted in, section 55(6)(c) of the Coroners and Justice Act
has formed the worst of both realms. There are still underlying issues that
still exist and it is to be seen whether these issues will be emphasized. The
defendants who claim to have lost their self-control
may also realise that they might find it hard to rely on the new provision. The
new act does not for definite provide a solution for the victims of battered
women’s syndrome and domestic violence due to the fact that the qualifying
triggers do not apply.

However,
it can be suggested that to remove sexual infidelity as a qualifying trigger
was an attempt made by the new law, which was not successful as it did not
actually happen. Arguably, questions may have raised as to what actually has
being achieved by introducing the new provisions if women are still being exposed
to prejudiced behaviour. Due to this, the new defence still is mostly male-dominated, which were not the objectives
of the 2009 act. As pre-existent discernment still exists in support of men,
the purposes of the 2009 Act have not been achieved and women are still being
treated harshly by men.

Another
problem that needs to be dealt with is trying to differentiate between the
domestic violence cases which involve
real motive for revenge as a result of domestic abuse and the cases where the
defendant loses their self-control, several days after the abuse happened. As illustrated
by Carline; “acting due to a fear of serious violence defence is not about a
loss of self-control but based upon a recognition that some domestic violence
victims live in desperate situations in which extreme fatal action may seem to
be the only means by which to survive”7.
It is shocking that victims are not provided with the suitable protection under
the law, yet those who act in a sudden temper are. How is this fair for the victims
who are being abused by their partners and by under the law?

These
discriminations raise the questions on the law. As we know, individuals who are
being abused emotionally or physically by their partners is a fact of life. The
women are in agony, they feel constant humiliation by their partners and
constant fear of being inflicted to harm. But the on-going discussion on how
the law should legally react to a woman who kills her “abuser is significant
beyond the individual”8.
Women are more likely to be assaulted than men. “A high proportion, of (75%),
of recorded assaults on women take place in either the victim’s or the
assailant’s home. When it comes to homicide, female victims are far more likely
to have been killed by their cohabitant or ex-cohabitant than male victims”9.
In addition, it also revealed that female victims were more likely to be killed
by someone they knew. Over three-quarters,
(78%) of female victims knew the main suspect, compared with 57 percent of male victims.”10

 

 

Overall,
more improvements need to be made to the law on loss of control due to the
massive confusion which still persists. Women were not being treated fairly
when it comes to establishing the defence
of provocation, resulting in discrimination and this is still the case in some
occasion as the new law on loss of control is still very much surrounded by
criticism in this area of law especially in establishing whether there was some
kind of pre-meditation involved. Women
who have constantly been suffering from battered women’s syndrome and domestic
violence were predominantly at disadvantage and changes in the future were
inevitable. It could be said, that women are still not able to rely on the new
law when they find themselves to be losing their control, therefore, it can be suggested that the 2009
act has been ineffective. Despite this, some changes have been made to the law
such as the removal of the requirement of sudden loss of control, yet still, some injustice exists. Even though several changes have been made to the law,
it is still debatable whether all the
problems have been eradicated.

1
ibid

2 R v Doughty (1986),

3 R v Davies 1975

4 R v Clinton (2012)

5
Sam Main. ‘Loss of Control: Sexual Infidelity and the Reduction of a Charge of
Murder to Manslaughter’ (2009) The Student Journal of Law,
accessed 23 October 2017.

6
ibid

7 Carline, A. “Reforming Provocation:
Perspectives From The Law Commission and The Government”, Web Journal of
Current Legal Issues (2009) 2:http://webjcli.ncl.ac.uk/2009/issue2/carline2.html

8 Wells, C. “Battered Woman Syndrome and
Defences to Homicide: Where Now?” Legal Studies (1994) 14(2)

9
ibid

10 Home Office (2012) “Homicides,
Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2010/11: Supplementary Volume 2 to Crime
in England and Wales 2010/11”. Accessed via: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/crime-research/hosb0212/hosb0212snr?view=Binary

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