Homicide is a serious criminal offence that is accompanied with very heavy penalties if convicted. It is split into two distinct categories: murder and manslaughter.
‘Murder’ and ‘Manslaughter’ is a criminal offence that is dealt with under section 18 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
Murder is the branch of homicide that concerns the unlawful and intentional killing of another person.
In order to be convicted of murder, the prosecution must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, the following:
- A voluntary act or omission; and
- Caused the death of the deceased; and
- The voluntary act or omission was either;
- intended to inflict grievous bodily harm;
- intended to kill;
- was done or omitted with reckless indifference to human life; or
- done in an attempt to commit, or during or immediately after the commission, by the accused, or some accomplice with them.
If the prosecution is unable to establish all of these elements beyond reasonable doubt, then the accused must be acquitted.
Manslaughter refers to the unintentional killing of another person, and there are two separate categories: voluntary and involuntary.
For voluntary manslaughter, it is where the elements of murder have been established, however the conviction is reduced due to:
- Provocation; or
- Abnormality of the mind due to substantial impairment; or
- Excessive self-defence, where the test applied is whether reasonable person in the accused’s position would have considered the lethal response as being reasonable in the circumstances.
For involuntary manslaughter, this arises in circumstances where the death was caused by:
- An unlawful and dangerous act; or
- An act considered to be negligent as it fell short of the standard of care a reasonable person would have exercise in the same circumstances.
In accordance with the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), if an accused is found guilty of murder or manslaughter, then the maximum penalty is either imprisonment for:
- Life; or
- 25 years.
A life sentence is generally reserved for the most serious of cases where a court is satisfied that the level of culpability is to such a serious degree that community interests of retribution, punishment, community protection, and deterrence can only be appeased through a life sentence.
How JB Solicitors Can Help
Murder or manslaughter are extremely serious offences where it is crucial that you receive legal representation and advice, especially as there may be a defence or mitigating factor that is applicable to your case.
JB Solicitors has a leading team of highly experienced criminal lawyers who can assist you with your matter. We understand the seriousness of the offence, and the difficulties you face when charged with homicide offences. You will be provided with accurate and tailored advice to assist you in achieving the best possible outcome for your personal circumstance.
If you have been charged with a homicide offence and need to know your options moving forward, please contact JB solicitors today on 02 9723 8080, or alternatively, visit our Canley Heights Office.