A prosecutor what would be your preferred charge of homicide, murder or manslaughter, in relation to Soraya?

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1. Read the following paragraph and answer the questions that follow. Soraya, aged 20, lives with her boyfriend Bashir, aged 45. Bashir regularly forces Soraya to have sex with his friends and is often violent to her, particularly when drunk. Soraya has tried to commit suicide several times and her doctor has prescribed anti-depressants. One night Bashir comes home drunk, hits Soraya, and tells her his friends are coming round and that she will be expected to sleep with them. Soraya takes an overdose of anti-depressants but is violently sick immediately afterwards. Bashir laughs at Soraya, telling her she is so pathetic she cannot even commit suicide properly. He tells her to be ready to meet his friends in two hours. He goes upstairs. Soraya thinks for a while and then makes her decision. She grabs a heavy lamp, goes upstairs and, finding Bashir in the bathroom washing his hair, smashes the lamp over Bashir’s head with all her force. Almost unconscious, Bashir stumbles out of the bathroom and aims a blow at Soraya who is, by now, at the top of the stairs. He misses, loses his footing, and falls down the stairs. He dies immediately. 

(a) If you were A prosecutor what would be your preferred charge of homicide, murder or manslaughter, in relation to Soraya? (b) Give reasons for your choice in (a) above. (c) If you were Soraya’s defence counsel, what is the most compelling argument you could advance in favour of the proposition that the chain of causation, linking Bashir’s death to Soraya’s attack with the lamp, was broken? (d) If you were prosecuting counsel, how would you respond to that argument? (e) Supposing your argument in (c) above were successful, what offence(s), if any, would Soraya have committed? (f) Give reasons for your answer in (e) above. (g) Assuming the court finds that the chain of causation was not broken which defences are available to a charge of murder? (h) Which of those defence(s) considered in (g) above carries the greatest chance of success? (i) Give reasons for your answer in (h) above. (j) Taking everything into account, what is your final conclusion on the question of Soraya’s liability?

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