Hockey Fatality Update: What is Suspicion of Manslaughter in UK?
A great deal of media confusion surrounds the recent arrest in Great Britain of a former American Hockey League player on suspicion of manslaughter following the death of NIHL player Adam Johnson.
Over the weekend, police in the UK announced they had arrested a man in connection with the incident that occurred on the ice on October 28th in Sheffield, England in which the blade of Matt Petgrave's slate, severely sliced the throat of Johnson causing a deep laceration. Johnson died while being transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital.
Police have not released the name of the person arrested, but obvious speculation, along with several media reports including the Toronto Sun, have named Matt Petgrave as the suspect. Reports say, Petgrave has since been released on bail. Petgrave is a former Utica Comet who played locally from 2018 until 2021.
So why the confusion?
FOX News Radio correspondent Jonathan Savage cleared up much of the curiosity by confirming that in the UK when a suspect is arrested, the person's name is almost always withheld from the public, unlike in the United States.
"Criminal investigations are handled very differently in the UK," said Savage. "Police only release limited information and often they don’t release the name of a suspect until they actually have been charged with an offense and there's almost a media blackout. Nothing is discussed until evidence has moved forward in court. It's a very different environment and there are far more strict laws regarding what we journalists can say, as well," he added.
What is Suspicion of Manslaughter in Great Britain?
Reports say, the charge against Petgrave is suspicion of manslaughter. Manslaughter in the United States is the act of killing someone without malice, according to the Legal Information Institute. Manslaughter in Great Britain is much more broad, according to Savage.
Manslaughter in England is "an extremely varied and broad criminal offense. Here it can range from an accident to...just short of murder. It can be voluntary or involuntary and the penalties can go from suspended sentence to life in prison, so we don’t know exactly what sort of manslaughter the police believe they're investigating here," said Savage.
Utica Police Officers working Downtown Utica in the 40s and 50’s
Gallery Credit: Jim Rondenelli
Utica's Chicken Riggies Dish Wasn't Invented in Utica? Say It Isn't So.
Gallery Credit: Bill Keeler