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R v Cato (1976) 62 Cr App R 41 Court of Appeal

The appellant purchased some heroin took it to his home which he shared with Anthony Farmer and two others. He invited them all to use the heroin. They each prepared their own solution and then paired off to inject each other. Farmer prepared his own solution and the appellant injected him. This was repeated during the night. The following day Farmer was found dead. The appellant was convicted of manslaughter and administering a noxious thing under s.23 OAPA 1861.


Appeal was dismissed. Conviction for manslaughter upheld.

It was held that there had been an unlawful act of administering a noxious thing and that that act had caused death. However, Lord Widgery went further:

Lord Widgery CJ:
"had it not been possible to rely on the charge under section 23 of the Offences against the Person Act, we think that there would have been an unlawful act here and we think the unlawful act would be described as injecting the deceased Farmer with a mixture of heroin and water which at the time of the injection and for the purposes of the injection the accused had unlawfully taken into his possession."
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