Posted: September 17th, 2017
Scott and Charlene have been married for 10 years, and live in a third-floor flat in Tamworth, with Charlene’s 18-year-old daughter Libby. Libby’s biological father is Charlene’s alcoholic ex-husband Lou, who lives a few blocks away.
Unknown to Charlene, Scott and Libby have recently started a sexual relationship. Returning home unexpectedly early from work one day in January 2015, Charlene discovers Scott partially undressed and standing over the seated Libby, with his hand on her breast.
Thinking that she is witnessing the indecent assault of her daughter, Charlene screams, ‘Get away from her!’ Hearing this, Libby runs out of the flat, and Scott walks towards Charlene, saying, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry’. ‘You will be’, replies Charlene, grabbing a knife from the sideboard and plunging it into Scott’s chest. Scott continues apologising and backs away. Charlene lunges at him again, and Scott runs from her and leaps out of the open window of the flat to his death. Although the stab wound was a serious injury, it is the fall from the window that actually kills Scott.
Charlene walks over to the window to see Libby walking over to Scott’s dead body. Libby looks up at Charlene, crying, and says, ‘What have you done? We loved each other, we were going to tell you’. Frightened and upset, Libby runs away. ‘Never come back here!’ Charlene shouts after her. She throws the knife out of the window, in Libby’s direction, and it hits Madge, who is walking past the flat, cutting her on the leg.
Libby runs to the local shops and buys painkillers and alcohol. She sits in a park for a while, taking tablets and drinking and then stumbles to Lou’s house, and asks him to take her to the hospital. Lou sees that Libby is confused and upset and tells her to calm down. He takes the remaining pills and alcohol from her, gives her a glass of water and tells her to go for a lie down in his bed. Lou goes out for drinks with friends. When he returns several hours later, he finds that Libby has died from an overdose.
Discuss the potential criminal liability of Charlene and Lou in relation to the events described above.
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