LECTURE JANUARY 25TH, 2013
TOPIC: "Homicide of a Different Kind: Manslaughter, SpousalAbuse, and the Limits of 'Self
➔ Killing in Self-Defence: SpousalAbuse
➔ U.S. versus Canada for Self-Defence
◦ Derived from common law
◦ Killing someone while trying to prevent them killing you it is acceptable
◦ Criminal code Section 34
▪ Homicides are not to be treated as murder
▪ Subsection (2) → assaulted and kill someone while trying to repel → justified
• Kill to protect self after having NOT originally provoked the assault is justified.
• Kill attacker under reasonable apprehension of death or grievous bodily harm from
the violence of the assault.
• If you have another option such as running away then you must take that action
rather than killing the person in defence. Killing must be your only option.
• REFER TO PPT FOR CRIMINAL CODE OF CANADA
◦ Robert Brown
▪ Issue: whether Brown was under duty to retreat.
▪ He failed to retreat and was charged with second degree murder because he had the
option to run off and did not.
▪ He had another option aside from killing the person and therefore broke the Criminal
Code outline above.
▪ PICTURE OF HIM ON LECTURE PPT
▪ He was on the Supreme Court in 1915 in the case of Magnum
▪ Supporter for Civil Rights
▪ Temperament personality
▪ Poet → fought in Civil War → fought in 10 battles → involved in 4 main campaigns
▪ He was focused on the ideal of courage and honour
◦ US vs. Brown, 1917
▪ Confrontation between the two men on land owned by the post office, had been
preceded by dispute between the two men. Hermes had assaulted Brown on two other
occasions with a knife and so on the day of the killing, Brown brought a gun to work;
another confrontation and Brown kills Hermes; convicted of murder.
▪ RETREAT → if you are being attacked you are always under the option to retreat and
run from the scene. If you do not do so and instead kill the other person you are most
likely to be convicted of murder. BUT if a man reasonably believes he was in great
danger and retreat was not an adequate option then they may choose to fight that point.
▪ Supreme Court Decision, 1921
• Brown was not bound to flee. Many writers believed that “if a man reasonably
believes that he is in immediate danger of death or grievous bodily harm he may
stand his ground and that if he kills he has not exceeded the bounds of lawful self-
defence...Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted
knife”. • Holmes stated simply that when a knife or gun is pulled on you there is no time to
▪ Holmes as a product of the Civil war
• Real men do not retreat in the face of adversity
• Real men stand and fight
• However, the decision also reflected more broadly on state's movements away from
the doctrine of fleeing one's assailant and rather showed the reality in which most
people lived their lives.
◦ Harry Lundsgaarde
▪ “the need for police, judges, juries, and any form of third party authority is practically
eliminated as long as one can convincingly establish that the killing was a response to a
threat against person or property.”
▪ Studied 268 killers and found that a large portion of them committed justifiable
homicide (Murder In Texas)
▪ Murder in Texas
• Justifiable Homicide → find wife in bed with another man (this was up till 1974 and
has changed now).
➔ REFER TO PPT FOR STATISTICS ON VIOLENCEAGAINST WOMEN
➔ Why women stay in these relationships?
◦ Battered Women Syndrome
▪ Three Stages
• Name calling, some physical abuse
• Severe physical abuse
• Offender apologizes
◦ Cycle begins again; if cycle happens more than once, then woman is defined as
◦ Learned Helplessness
▪ Feel they have no power
▪ Feel trapped
• Low self-esteem
• Need to protect children
• Cannot admit spouse is abusive
• Dependent on spouse
◦ Battered Women Syndrome
▪ Psychological Understanding
◦ R. vs. Whynot (1984)
▪ Jane Stafford
▪ William (Billy) Stafford
▪ Alan Whynot
▪ Margaret Joudrey
▪ Ronald Wamboldt
◦ Evidence shown at trial that he was abusive and she wanted to leave but felt trapped
◦ Queen's County, Nova Scotia
◦ Series of events on 11 March, 1982
◦ Billy threatened to burn Joudrey ; and to killAlan (Jane's 16 year old son) ◦ “I said to hell with......(refer to ppt)
◦ The Trial
▪ Acquitted at trial (not guilty)
▪ Problems with verdict: wouldn't it invite women to take law into their own hands
▪ Billy Stafford had been on trial, not Jane
▪ Appeal to Nova Scotia Court ofAppeals: that judge had instructed jury incorrectly
▪ He may have threatened to hurt her but when she attacked him he was asleep in his
truck, NOT in the midst of attacking her.
▪ NO PERSON HAS THE RIGHT TO THEANTICIPATION OFANASSAULT
THAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAPPEN
▪ In another trial, she was found guilty of manslaughter. Sentenced to 6 months but served
two. Then she committed suicide.
▪ REFER TO PPT FOR APPEAL COURT DECISION
◦ R. vs. Lavallee
▪ Lyn Lavallee/Kevin Rust/Manitoba
▪ 30 August 1986
▪ Party → argument → Lavallee kills Rust when he has turned his back to her and is
walking out of room
▪ “I'll take care of you later” (Rust).
▪ He taunted her with a rifle and said you better get me first or else I'll get you. So she
shot him in the back of the head.
▪ The Trial
• Lavallee did not testify at trial
• Gave a statement
• Psychiatrist (Dr. Shane) …..REFER TO LECTURE PPT . Psychiatrist → most
controversial. Used four sources.
• Psychiatrist's sources
◦ 1) a four hour interview with Lavallee
◦ 2) a police report of the incident
◦ 3) hospital reports
◦ 4) an interview with her mother
◦ Problem: court did not find this info admissible because it was all hearsay
• Manitoba Court of Appeals
◦ Overturned verdict
◦ Dr Shane's evidence was inadmissible
◦ Lavallee had not testified → jury unable to evaluate for themselves her state of