R v Stone and Dobinson [1977] QB 354

Key point

  • A failure to act after an assumption of responsibility can amount to actus reus

Facts

  • Stone and Dobinson (Ds) were taking care of Stone’s sister, Fanny, who was mentally unstable
  • She became helplessly infirm
  • Ds neglected to care for her and she died

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • Ds were guilty of gross negligence manslaughter

Geoffrey Lane LJ

  • A duty of care had been assumed by Ds
  • Ds were obliged to summon help or care for Fanny themselves
  • Failure to do so amounted to actus reus for manslaughter
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