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Old 09-11-18, 02:07   #1
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Default Law experts of TRF, would it be attempted manslaughter or some other charge?

So I'm writing a story, well, have been writing a fan fiction for a tv series I enjoy. Anyway I'm not sure what the charge would be against this character.

So to make matters short you have Donovan, Mary, and Crag. Donovan and Crag are together and have been in love for a long time. Together they build a fashion company to rivial some other characters and have for the most part been pretty great. Their company is made up of misfits and outcasts from the other characters on the show and are great friends with Donovan and Crag. However Donovan has noticed that Crag spends quite a bit of personal time with their friend Mary. He is concerned about the closeness they seem to have and becomes wildly jealous of Crag and Mary. Thing is Donovan has a dark side, that for a while had been under control. However the introduction of Mary into their lives has complicated things for Donovan and he decides to hatch a plan to get rid of the problem. He at first tries to confront Mary and learns that Mary is exactly the kind of person he is worried about. Despite many of Donovan's attempts to fight off Mary, she isn't going anywhere and the strain of their discrepancies has put a toll on his relationship with Crag. Donovan decides that enough is enough and hatches a final plan to get rid of Mary once and for all.

Donovan talks to Mary and wants to settle things. He invites her to his Yacht and the two of them hash out their differences over a glass of wine. Before Mary can exit the boat Donovan pulls her to the side to say one last thing. Instead of talking to her Donovan pushes Mary overboard, causing her to fall into the waters below. Donovan knows that Mary cannot swim and watches as she frantically tries to save herself, but failing to do so. Meanwhile at the dock a friend of theirs see's the comotion and jumps into the water to save Mary. Ivy screams for Donovan to call emergancy, but he just stands there, glaring back at her. Ivy pulls out her phone and calls paramedics. Mary is rushed to the ER where she is injured greatly, but expected to recover.

Knowing that Mary will be ok Ivy confronts Donovan who blackmails Ivy into secrecy. Donovan knows that not only would he go to jail if the truth was found out about what he did, but Crag would hate him and probably leave him for attempting to kill his friend Mary.

Donovan successful evades the law until Ivy comes forward after her secret is exposed by someone else. Donovan is arrested and in court gets a lawyer who tries to defend the charges against Donovan.

Question is what would be the charges? Donovan claims that he was just trying to have fun with Mary and had no idea that she couldn't swim. He also claims that Mary was drunk at the time of the incident. How could something like this turn about in court? Would there be any loop holes that the character Donovan could exploit to get off of these charges realistically or will some fictional stuff have to come into play for this to happen.

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Last edited by charmedangelin; 09-11-18 at 02:09.
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Old 09-11-18, 08:35   #2
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I start saying that I am not a lawyer but an engineer.
So my opinion could be just a start for the discussion.
For me the most important points are that:
- he knew that she could not swim and he did not act to save her after she fell outboard.
- at the same time, as You described, a good lawyer could appeal to some form of mental insanity because he somehow got paralized by the events.
- I do not think of attempted homicide, but it could be...
As a writer as You are, it could depend mostly by the ability of the lawyers you decide to bring in your story
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Old 09-11-18, 09:18   #3
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Not a lawyer either, but Iíll try anyway:

First of all, where is this set? Differences between murder, manslaughter and so on differ widely between jurisdictions.

The situation here is an attempted murder by basically all definitions I am aware of: itís premeditated, death is the goal, itís done using deceit, thatís all a very clear case.

Voluntary manslaughter (of which this might be an attempt) depends a lot on jurisdiction, but usually means cases where the assailant intended harm but not death, or acted in the heat of the moment. A DA could go for that if they think intent to harm can be proven.

Note that the DA could also simply go for assault here.

In some jurisdictions, even if all else fails, his refusal to help could be illegal all on its own.

If you want him to get out of this, thatís difficult, and the best way might be to attack the evidence: What did Ivy really see? What does Mary say? Without more evidence and witnesses, it may be possible for the lawyer to construct a narrative where the whole thing was an accident and Donovan, panicked, didnít react properly. He might get a fine for that. Of course heíll have to explain the blackmail.
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