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Murder Solicitors in London

Specialist London Solicitors in Murder cases

At MFI Law Limited we have the expertise in representing clients charged with murder. Our London Solicitors are available to represent clients at London Police Stations, Magistrates' and Crown Courts throughout the country.

Murder is governed by Common Law

Murder is the most serious offence in English Law. It is:

Where one person, of sound mind unlawfully kills another with the intention to kill or to cause grievous bodily harm.

Intent

Intent for murder is the intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm (GBH), nothing less. Foresight is no more than evidence from which the jury may draw the inference of intent.

Joint Enterprise

The principle set out in R v Lane and Lane (1986) 82 Cr App R 5 and restated in R v Aston and Mason (1992) 94 Cr App R 180 is that where two people are jointly indicted for the commission of a crime and the evidence does not point to one rather than the other, and there is no evidence that they were acting in concert, the jury ought to acquit both.

Where association evidence is relied on, the circumstances of the association of the suspect with the principal offender, together with the other evidence in the case, must give rise to the inference that the suspect was assisting or encouraging the principal's offence.

Causation

The prosecution must always show a causal link between the act/omission and the death.

The act or omission must be a substantial cause of death, but it need not be the sole or main cause of death. It must have more than minimally negligibly or trivially contributed to the death.

However, where it is alleged that an omission was a substantial cause of death, causation is particularly difficult. It is necessary to prove to the criminal standard that but for the omission the deceased would not have died.

To break the “chain of causation” an intervening act must be such that it becomes the sole cause of the victim's death so as to relieve the defendant of liability. (Consider R v Kennedy (2007) 3 W.L.R. 612 below in Cases where death results from the unlawful supply of drugs.)

Examples of intervening acts are:

The defendant must take his victim as he finds him under the ‘egg-shell skullrsquo; rule: R v LeBrun (1991) 4 All ER 673

Our experience in successfully defending Murder Cases

R-v-S and Three Others A lengthy murder investigation which resulted in four of the accused being indicted after 6 years. Three out of the four defendants were represented by Mr Mahomed Ismail at the police station. This case involved a very complex area of law on identification. All charges were the subject of formal not guilty verdicts.

R-v-B&G A case concerning two men whom were accused of a ride-by shooting in Stockwell. Mr Mahomed Ismail represented Mr G for murder who was subsequently acquitted during the trial.

R-v-DR Successful acquittal after trial of DR following a knife point murder in Pollards Hill, South West London.

Sentencing guidelines for Murder

Maximum Sentence:
Murder carries a mandatory life sentence. All offenders convicted of murder need to have a minimum term set. This is the minimum time that the offender will serve before being eligible for parole.

Criminal Justice Act 2003 Schedule 21

Paragraph 4 – whole life order. Paragraph 4(2) lists these factors:

Paragraph 5 – minimum term of 30 years. Paragraph 5(2) lists these factors:

Paragraph 10 lists some additional aggravating factors:

Paragraph 11 – lists some mitigating factors:

Relevant Case Law

R v Peters, Palmer and Campbell [2005] 2 Cr. App. R.(S.) 64 involved offenders aged under 20 when offence committed with intent to cause grievous bodily harm only. [5–239h] The protection of the public is achieved by the mandatory life sentence itself. The minimum term reflects the elements of punishment and deterrence.

R v Last, Holbrook and others [2005] 2 Cr. App. R.(S.) 101 involved offenders who had pleaded guilty.

R v Jones [2006] 2 Cr. App. R.(S.) 19 Detailed guidance given on a number of topics which included a minimum term of 30 years being upheld for a murder committed by deliberate arson.

R v Thomas [2010] 1 Cr. App. R.(S.) 14 considered the extent to which violence by prior to murder can be taken into account by judge when assessing minimum term.

R v Davies [2009] 1 Cr. App. R.(S.) 15 held in the context of a factual dispute that criminal standard of proof applies when determining the starting point for the minimum term under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 Schedule 21.

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