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R v Ball [1989] Crim LR 730 Court of Appeal

The appellant was involved in a dispute with a neighbour over her parking her car on his land. The neighbour’s car then disappeared and she and two men went to the appellant's house to question him about it. Things got out of hand and the appellant went and grabbed his shot gun and what he believed to be blank cartridges. He fired a shot at her intending to frighten her. In fact the cartridge was live and she died from her injury. He was convicted of manslaughter and appealed on the basis that the jury should have been directed that his mistaken belief that the cartridges were blank should be taken into account in assessing whether the sober and reasonable man would have regarded his actions as dangerous.

Held:

The appeal was dismissed.
"The question of whether the act was a dangerous one is to be judged not by the appellant's appreciation but by that of a sober and reasonable man and it is not possible to impute into his appreciation the mistaken belief of the appellant that what he was doing was not dangerous because he thought that there was a blank cartridge in the chamber. At that stage the appellant's intention, foresight or knowledge is irrelevant."
 
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