Alison Levitt QC on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour
09 January 2015

Alison Levitt QC on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour

On Wednesday 7th January Alison Levitt QC, Partner and Head of Mishcon de Reya's Business Crime Group, was interviewed for Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4 discussing the issues arising in relation to victims of domestic violence from the use of partial defences to murder.

Alison explains: "The three partial defences (loss of control, diminished responsibility and killing in pursuance of a suicide pact) apply only to murder. They are often relied on in domestic homicides. This is because in such cases the identity of the killer and the fact of the killing are usually not disputed. The concern is that  use of these defences can end up as a form of "victim-blaming", in which the accused seeks to use the deceased's behaviour to explain or even justify  the violence used. There is concern about the frequency with which attacks on the character of the deceased, who is often (but not always) a woman, results in the reduction of the offence from murder to manslaughter, with a correspondingly shorter sentence."

Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, Chair of the Joanna Simpson Foundation, also joined Jenni Murray on the programme explaining why a Royal Commission on murder needs to take place.

To listen to the interview, please click here.