R v Sellu (2016)

Mark Ellison QC represented David Sellu, consultant surgeon specialising in colorectal medicine, in his successful appeal against his manslaughter conviction.

Following this decision there is now clear guidance that the jury must be given effective and helpful directions on the meaning of gross negligence and these will almost certainly be based on one or more of the examples cited in the decision. Hopefully, this will provide greater consistency and certainty for both lawyers and the medical profession. Indeed, the decision is of equal relevance to any individual charged with gross negligence manslaughter, irrespective of the circumstances. For all such cases, the decision confirms that gross negligence in the context of manslaughter requires a very high degree of culpability indeed.

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