Gross negligence manslaughter defence

Gross negligence manslaughter investigations – how we can help

There has been much discussion, in recent times, of a perception that more and more prosecutions are being pursued for allegations of Gross Negligence Manslaughter. This has been a particularly vexed issue for healthcare practitioners like Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, who are at risk of being prosecuted following the death of patients to whom they have administered treatment. If you have been accused of such an offence, or think there is a chance you will be, Hempsons’ team of criminal defence lawyers is able to advise and defend you through what can be an incredibly traumatic, upsetting and often complicated experience.

Hempsons has a proven track record of advising and defending individuals charged with gross negligence manslaughter, whether that is at a police interview pre-charge, or at trial in the Crown Court.

What is gross negligence manslaughter?

In order for someone to be convicted of gross negligence manslaughter, the prosecution must establish:

  • That the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased;
  • That duty of care was breached by the defendant;
  • That breach caused the death of the defendant;
  • At the time of the negligence, there was an obvious risk of death; and
  • The nature of the defendant’s negligence was so “gross”, it amounts to a criminal offence.

The prosecution will need to establish all 5 of the above elements in order to secure a conviction. That means the bar is set high and a conviction is not easy to secure, so prosecutions should be rare. However, if you are accused of such an offence, the potential consequences are inevitably serious, the law (and often the evidence) is complicated and it is important that you have access to expert legal advice from the outset.

Given our expertise of representing healthcare practitioners, Hempsons is particularly well-placed to defend doctors charged with medical manslaughter, but we are also able to assist individuals charged with gross negligence manslaughter in any other circumstances, including those under investigation by the Health & Safety Executive.   We also have established relationships with many of the leading criminal defence barristers in this area of the law, so we are able to ensure you have full, comprehensive and effective representation throughout. Contact us today to receive the advice and support you need.

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