Killings short of murder : culpable homicide in Scots law

McDiarmid, Claire; Reed, Alan and Bohlander, Michael and Wake, Nicola and Engleby, Emma and Adams, Verity, eds. (2018) Killings short of murder : culpable homicide in Scots law. In: Homicide in Criminal Law. Substantive Issues in Criminal Law . Routledge, London, pp. 21-36. ISBN 978-1-351-01631-5

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    Abstract

    This chapter considers Scotland’s lesser homicide offence: culpable homicide. It looks at the breadth of the range of forms of killing covered by this crime from those which are so serious as to sit on the borderline with murder to those which render the agent of the death so lacking in culpability that the question may be whether to prosecute for a homicide offence at all. The chapter first of all provides an overview of the way in which culpable homicide is defined in Scots law. It then considers its operation on the borderline with murder – where the accused has killed in a manner which bears possible hallmarks of the more serious crime but the lesser offence is, in fact, indicated. In this regard, it also looks specifically at homicides committed on an art and part (or concert) basis. Next, it moves to consider culpable homicide in its own right where this is the crime to be charged from the outset. The law recognises two forms of this ‘involuntary’ type: lawful act and unlawful act. Finally, it draws on these discussions to evaluate the efficacy of the offence as it operates in Scots criminal law currently.