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Director of Public Prosecutions v. Camplin

House of Lords
2 All Eng.Rep. 168 (1978)


Facts

Mohammed Lal Khan, a middle-aged man, sodomized Camplin (defendant), a 15-year-old boy, in Kahn’s home and then laughed at him. Camplin thereafter took a heavy kitchen pan and killed Khan. Camplin was charged with murder. At trial, Camplin presented a defense of provocation in an attempt to reduce the offense to manslaughter. Camplin testified that despite his objections, Khan sexually abused him and then ridiculed him. Camplin said he then lost control and struck and killed Khan with the pan. Over defense counsel’s objections, the trial court instructed the jury that they were to consider whether the provocation was sufficient to make a reasonable man, in like circumstances, act as Camplin did and not use the standard of a reasonable person of Camplin’s age. Camplin was convicted and he appealed. The court of appeal, criminal division, allowed the appeal and vacated the murder conviction. In its place, the appellate court imposed a conviction of manslaughter on the ground that the trial court’s instruction to the jury regarding the “reasonable man” test was in error. The House of Lords then agreed to review the case.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Diplock, L.)

Concurrence (Simon, L.)

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