NATIONAL: New guidelines published for manslaughter sentencing

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PROPOSED new guidelines for sentencing those convicted of manslaughter offences in England and Wales have been published.

It is the first time comprehensive guidelines have been drafted for the ‘very serious and difficult’ cases which can include unintended death arising from an assault, or negligence by an employer.

Manslaughter always involves the loss of a human life and no sentence can make up for that loss.

Sentencing Council member Mr Justice Holroyde

A person can also be convicted of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, if they have been suffering from a recognised mental condition which affected their responsibility at the time of the offence, or manslaughter through loss of control - for example arising from a fear of serious violence.

Without these mitigating factors they would have been convicted of murder.

Sentencing Council member Mr Justice Holroyde said: ‘Manslaughter always involves the loss of a human life and no sentence can make up for that loss.

‘In developing these guidelines, we have been keenly aware of the impact caused by these offences and so the guidelines aim to ensure sentencing that properly reflects both the culpability of the offender and the seriousness of the harm which has been caused.’

The Sentencing Council has now launched a consultation on the draft guidelines.