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State v. McVay

Rhode Island Supreme Court
132 A. 436 (1926)



McVay (defendant) was the captain for the steamer ship Mackinac which carried several hundred passengers from Pawtucket to Newport via Narragansett Bay. Even though he and the ship’s engineer, Grant, had knowledge that the vessel’s boiler producing steam was unsafe, they continued on to Newport. During the voyage, the boiler exploded, killing three passengers. McVay and Grant were charged with manslaughter for causing the deaths of the three passengers. Another individual, Kelley, was charged as an accessory before the fact for feloniously and maliciously aiding and abetting McVay and Grant. The trial court certified a question for the Rhode Island Supreme Court to review, namely “[m]ay a defendant be indicted and convicted of being an accessory before the fact to the crime of manslaughter arising through criminal negligence as set forth in the indictment?”

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Barrows, J.)

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