Criminal Law Question 1Due to Melanie’s actions, she is held liable for committing murder. She can however claim to have committed the act due to provocation from her brother Graeme who was physically assaulting their father. When murder is committed as a result of provocation of the defendant, the common law avoids the strictness that would have been employed during a trial of first degree murder with intent to kill. Provocation is a defense that has been modified from the homicide act. It claims that if there is evidence which the jury can find the defendant was provoked by either the things done or the words said by the victim and may have resulted to the loss of self-control by the defendant, the crime is tried as a provocation murder.
The jury has to decide whether the provocation was enough to change the thinking of a reasonable man and force him into committing the crime. In this case the defendant will have to convince the jury that she was provoked by her brother’s actions and this led to her losing self-control and stabbing him in the torso.
The words uttered by the brother and the actions committed by him would be provided as evidence in the court. The mother will have to present herself as a key witness to the case. If Melanie is to use provocation as a defense, she will have to prove that she actually lost control. The evidence should prove without a doubt that the murder was not premeditated. If there is any evidence that Melanie had been able to compose herself during the whole ordeal, the judge has the right to overrule the provocation defense.
Melanie would use provocation as a defense in claiming that she had lost self-control and was not the master of her mind from the beginning of the whole incidence to the end. This will be backed up by the events that transpired during that time. She first tried to hit her brother with the pan but instead hitting her mother Claudia and without even attending to her mother for first aid Melanie immediately grabs a knife and stabs Graeme in the torso. After Melanie sees her father being physically attacked by the brother with punches, her passion towards her father kicks in and takes control of her mind making her commit actions which she could not control.
If there was a time period between them moment of provocation and the moment of the murder, she could have found it difficult to use provocation as a defense because she had cooling time. Melanie could also use the defense on others as a defense strategy. This may be justified because she saw that her father was in grave danger and acted in order to defend him.
When she saw Graeme punching and physically assaulting Paul, her instincts told her to help him. In the process of trying to help him, she tried to hit him with a pan which was almost as equivalent to Graeme’s threat and she hoped it would neutralize him. When Graeme ducked and the pan missed him, she opted for a greater reaction in order to save Paul. This resulted in Melanie stabbing her brother. This reaction was both timely and proportional to Graeme’s actions.