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The offences of murder and manslaughter are regarded as the most heinous crimes in our community. By virtue of their seriousness, they attract long and even lifetime sentences to full-time imprisonment.


Murder is defined by s 18(1)(a) , and is said to have occurred where a voluntary act or omission of the accused causes the death of the deceased and the act is committed with:


1. an intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, or

2. an intent to kill, or

3. reckless indifference to human life, or

4. committed by the accused or some accomplice with him or her in an attempt to commit, or during or immediately after the commission of, an offence punishable by at least 25 years imprisonment (constructive murder).


There are two broad categories within the offence of manslaughter: voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. In cases of voluntary manslaughter the elements of murder are present, but the culpability of the offender’s conduct is reduced by reason of provocation or substantial impairment by abnormality of mind. Manslaughter by excessive self-defence established under s 421 Crimes Act 1900 is also a form of voluntary manslaughter.


There are two categories of involuntary manslaughter at common law:


(i) manslaughter by unlawful and dangerous act, and


(ii) manslaughter by criminal negligence.


As with any criminal offence, the prosecution must prove all the elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. If you have a defence available, the prosecution must negate that defence beyond reasonable doubt if the Court is to find you guilty. If you are charged with the offence of murder or manslaughter, or you are seeking assistance for someone who is being investigated for an alleged murder or manslaugher, please contact KF Lawyers to arrange for a consultation to discuss potential defences and range of sentences that are available in your situation.

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