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R v Coutts [2007] 1 Cr App R 6, House of Lords

The appellant killed a teacher by strangulation during sexual activity. He contended that the sexual activity was consensual and the death was accidental. At his trial for her murder the question as to whether to run involuntary manslaughter as an alternative to murder was rejected by him on advice from Counsel. The jury convicted him of murder. He appealed contending that the trial judge should have directed the jury as to the possibility of a manslaughter conviction even though it was not raised by the defence.

Held:

The House of Lords quashed the murder conviction and ordered a re-trial. The judge should have directed the jury as to the possibility of a manslaughter conviction as an alternative to murder.

The appellant was re-tried and the manslaughter alternative was put before the jury. The jury convicted him of murder by 11-1.
 
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