Two friends, Person A and Person B, had become friends because of their shared addiction to prescription drugs Xanax and OxyContin. They found themselves in dire circumstances in a recent District Court case. The two were chronic abusers of the drugs. They frequently overdosed because they injected the drug rather than taking it orally.
Tragedy struck when one day the friends were at another person's home with other people, drinking alcohol and taking OxyContin. Person A began losing consciousness, and after some time had become fully unconscious. Intending to be helpful, Person B decided to put Person A in the back tray of their ute and take them home. The next morning, Person B's mother arrived home and discovered Person A dead on the ground next to the ute.
Person B was charged with manslaughter by criminal negligence. Prosecutors argued that as Person B had driven Person A away from the house where they had overdosed, taking them back to their house Person B had owed them a duty of care, meaning they had an obligation to look after them. The Court agreed with the prosecutors, finding that Person B's failure to get medical attention was grossly negligent, and that this significantly contributed or caused Person A's death. As a result, Person B was found guilty of the charge and sentenced to seven years in gaol for manslaughter.
Being held criminally responsible for the death of a person doesn't necessarily mean the person in question directly killed the person. If someone finds themselves in a situation where they are with a vulnerable individual, it is essential that they consider the full impact of their actions, and whether they are best suited to help.