New Guidelines on Manslaughter

 At the end of July 2018, The Sentencing Council issued further guidelines regarding the crime of Manslaughter. These guidelines come into force on the 1st November 2018 and must be applied by Judges. The most notable change in these guidelines is the push for tougher sentences for Gross Negligence Manslaughter. 

Gross negligence manslaughter is when an offender is so grossly in breach of a duty of care towards the victim that his acts and/or omissions result in the death of the victim. Usually breaches are dealt within the civil side of the law, but gross negligence manslaughter occurs when the breach results in death, and when the breach is so serious that it warrants criminal proceedings. 

This was seen in the case of R v Mohammed Khalique Zaman [2017] where a restaurant owner persistently failed over several months to take steps to ensure customers with peanut allergies were not served dishes containing peanuts or traces of them. One customer died as a consequence of  this. As a result, the manager was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison. The offence itself is quite rare, with only 10 offenders sentenced for it in 2016- this shows how gross the breach must be to warrant such an offence. 

The starting point for Gross Negligence Manslaughter can be anything from 1 year in custody to 18 years. It depends on the role that the  offender played in the breach and how serious the breach was. However, the new guidelines from July 2018 instructs Judges to consider life sentences. 

If you ever find yourself to be in a position where you are being accused of such an offence, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01702 338 388, or on our emergency 24-hour number 01702 342525.