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   Home      R v Kennedy [2005]
R v Kennedy [2005] 1 WLR 2159

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's first appeal was unsuccessful. However, following the decision of the Court of Appeal in Dias which cast doubt on the decision of the appellant's first appeal, the Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the case back to the Court of Appeal.


The appeal was dismissed. Conviction for manslaughter upheld. The unlawful act was the appellant's role in administering the drug which amounted to an offence under s.23 OAPA 1861.

"If, however, the role played by the defendant, in concert with the deceased, amounts to administering or causing the drug to be administered, then that person will have committed an offence under s.23 of the 1861 Act and he will be guilty of an unlawful act. The fact that the deceased may die does not affect that situation. Furthermore, if the defendant participates in an offence involving the administration of the drug, there could be no question of difficulties in relation to causation.

The point in this case is that the appellant and the deceased were carrying out a 'combined operation' for which they were jointly responsible. Their actions were similar to what happens frequently when carrying out lawful injections: one nurse may carry out certain preparatory actions (including preparing the syringe) and hand it to a colleague who inserts the needle and administers the injection, after which the other nurse may apply a plaster. In such a situation, both nurses can be regarded as administering the drug. They are working as a team. Both their actions are necessary. They are interlinked but separate parts in the overall process of administering the drug."

NB: This decision was reversed on appeal to the House of Lords
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