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Prosecuting Homicide

Murder and manslaughter are two of the offences that constitute homicide.

Manslaughter can be committed in one of three ways:

  1. killing with the intent for murder but where there is provocation, diminished responsibility or a suicide pact.
  2. conduct that was grossly negligent given the risk of death, and resulted in death.
  3. conduct, taking the form of an unlawful act involving a danger of some harm, that caused death.

With some exceptions, the crime of murder is committed, where a person:

  • of sound mind and discretion (i.e. sane):
  • unlawfully kills (i.e. not self-defence or other justified killing)
  • any reasonable creature (human being)
  • in being (born alive and breathing through its own lungs)
  • under the Queen's Peace
  • with intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm.

There are other specific homicide offences, for example, infanticide, causing death by dangerous driving, and corporate manslaughter.

Find out more about prosecuting homicide

The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

Statement on conviction of David Norris and Gary Dobson for the murder of Stephen Lawrence


Alison Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor for London, said: "The Crown Prosecution Service brought this prosecution after a lot of hard work and scientific developments. We have worked very closely with the police throughout their investigations and with the Lawrence family to bring these killers to justice.

"This is one of the most significant cases of this generation: changing attitudes, policing and the law. It has taken a long time and a lot of hard work to get here. The prosecution took the exceptional step of making an application to the High Court to quash the acquittal of Dobson and order a retrial. We were convinced that the new and compelling evidence presented by the police was strong enough to successfully prosecute these individuals. The High Court agreed with the application for a retrial.

"It should be remembered that 18 years ago, a young man lost his life. We hope these convictions will offer some justice to the family and friends of Stephen Lawrence. The family of Stephen have long campaigned for justice to be done in this case and I would like to pay tribute to them for their perseverance and determination in this matter."