Hi there, how are you? Good. How am I? I am doing well, relaxing in my white waffle tracksuit drinking cold tea.
As an aspiring barrister who has little under a month until I begin the bar course, I find myself drawn more and more into the controversial criminal cases that have found there ways into the media. Most media is skewed, but still there is an element of truth to the stories.
There will be a case in the paper concerning a ‘horrific’ and ‘brutal’ criminal offence that has left victims either ‘severely injured’ or ‘dead’. There is no shortage of these types of cases. What sort get put into the paper and why? Cases you read about in the paper are cases like these;
The cases show a cross section of the same types of people within our society. The bottom case is of interest today, and I’ll tell you why. It’s of interest because the article has unequivocally highlighted yet again the failures of both the social support system and the criminal justice system in general. The policing system, the government and the courts should be held accountable for the amount of crime that is committed on a daily basis, of which there is A LOT. Why does the media keep reporting these cases, instead of lobbying for increased funding to the severely underfunded legal system? Why aren’t the government acting concerned?
The last case, concerning a teenage mother who left her baby to ‘starve’ to death as she went and partied for a little under 6 days, jailed for 9 years. (Ignore that 69).
Quoting the article; “Asiah died at the flat and tests showed she was starved, dehydrated and had developed flu. Judge Christine Laing said the final days of her life are “unbearable to contemplate” as she sentenced Kudi.”
Below is a picture of the defendant, found guilty of manslaughter. She had previously pleaded guilty. Did you know that a guilty plea automatically knocks a 1/3 off your sentence? Did you know that criminals can get out of jail early for ‘good’ behaviour? Did you know the the convicted are released before serving even half of their sentence dependent on when the judge sets the earliest parole date?
“She herself, the defendant, is both very young and we would submit very vulnerable.”
To answer the above; I would submit that a baby is vulnerable and unable to care for themselves. The defendant was vulnerable? Yeah okay, she clearly was distressed that is why she went on a week long drinking bender.
Let’s get to the crux or cold bleeding heart of this case and why it distressed me. I read this and expected that the outcome reported would be murder. “Guilty of manslaughter.” Guilty. The distinguishing feature of murder from manslaughter is the mental intention, or the mens rea, of the defendant.
To commit the murder with direct intention is to intend a particular outcome or consequence of the defendants actions or act – the actus reas. In other words, the defendant knows that their actions will result in death, that is their intention. On the other hand, still coming under murder, albeit to a somewhat lesser extent and I am hesitant to call any type of murder lesser, is oblique intention. You see, oblique intention is where a human being foresees a natural consequence of their actions as virtually certain – the virtually certain test set out in the case of R v Woollin – a case in which the defendant threw his baby at a wall causing death.
When discussing manslaughter, we have involuntary and voluntary. Unfortunately, this is a reflection of poor reporting, the article I read failed to mention what manslaughter variety our killer mother had been charged and found guilty of. We can allude, but I refrain from making assumptions based on the fact that it states she was very vulnerable.
Here we have a case that will cause people to get upset and cry. But what has been done to prevent this? A known vulnerable teenager, who has a baby, and is heavily influenced with a youngsters lifestyle… Again, systemic failures within the social care system which has resulted in another loss of a babies life. When will the system learn and start to actually do what they are paid to do?
Let’s briefly touch on the sentence, a 9 year stretch, assuming that includes the 1/3 off. Now, realistically, the mother will probably be doing half of that. Another failure? The system doesn’t have the finances to fund and keep prisoners, it’s more economic to keep criminals in society paying taxes you know. It’s not the judge or barristers or solicitors that need slapping, it’s the government for failing to recognise or acknowledge that the system they have deluded themselves into believing is working, isn’t.
If the country functioned and had a well funded legal system and kept people happy, would we be seeing children murdering with intention, other children? Where did we cross the line in allowing our children to become such evil little *****?
I leave you with a question. Given the sentence, would you:
a) Find her guilty of murder
b) change the sentence
c) ban under 18s from having children?
Thanks for reading and have a brilliant day.