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   Home      R v Kennedy [1999]
R v Kennedy [1999] Crim LR 65 Court of Appeal

The appellant prepared a solution of heroin filled a syringe and handed it to Mr Bosque, a fellow resident at a hostel. Bosque injected himself and died. The appellant was convicted of supplying a class A drug and constructive manslaughter. The appellant appealed contending that there was no direct causal link between the unlawful act of supplying heroin and the death of Bosque.


Appeal dismissed. Conviction upheld. The unlawful act was Bosque injecting himself, which the appellant assisted. The injection by Bosque was the direct cause of death.

Waller LJ:

".... the injection of the heroin into himself by Bosque [the victim] was itself an unlawful act, and if the appellant assisted in and wilfully encouraged that unlawful conduct, he would himself be acting unlawfully....Whether one talks of novus actus interveniens or simply in terms of causation, the critical question to which the jury must direct its mind, where (as in the instant case) there is an act causative of death performed by in this case the deceased himself, is whether the appellant can be said to be jointly responsible for the carrying out of that act."


The Court of Appeal distinguished the case of Dalby as the appellant in the present case prepared the solution of heroin whereas in Dalby the deceased prepared the solution.

It was recognised in R v Dias 2002 that there is no unlawful act where a person injects themself with a controlled drug

There was a further appeal to the Court of Appeal heard in 2005 which was dismissed: R v Kennedy 2005

There was then an appeal to the House of Lords in 2007 which was allowed: R v Kennedy 2007
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