In 1976, Gwendoline Dobinson and John Stone were convicted of manslaughter. While living in the defendants’ home, Stone's elderly, anorexic sister died as a result of toxaemia and starvation, her body covered with infected bed sores. Affirming their conviction the appeal court concluded that if she had received medical care she would probably have survived. The case of R v Stone and Dobinson  1 QB 354, extended the law of omissions liability. It remains authoritative and controversial, not least because the defendants themselves were vulnerable, disabled and had learning difficulties. This paper revisits the case and considers: what it tells us about legal duties to care and ethical theories of care; when criminal liability should be imposed for failures to act or care; and whether vulnerable people should be held liable for manslaughter in such circumstances?
|Translated title of the contribution||Duties to Care: Law and Ethics|
|Title of host publication||School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol|
|Publication status||Published - 4 Nov 2010|
Bibliographical noteName and Venue of Event: Ethics Series 2010
Conference Organiser: CEM