legal advice 02 8059 7121 or after hours on 0420 998 650

Homicide

Types of murder

The term homicide refers to offences that result in death. As such, the charge can often lead to heavy penalties, such as life imprisonment, and so it is important to attain immediate professional legal advice, regardless of the circumstances.

The three major types of homicide charges are as follows:

Murder

Murder and Attempted Murder are considered two of the most serious charges in the eyes of the law and, under all circumstances legal advice should be sought immediately on receiving such a charge.

Murder is taken to have been committed when death was caused by the accused:

• Acting with reckless indifference to human life, or
• Omitting to act with reckless indifference to human life, or
• With intent to kill, or
• With intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, or
• During an attempt to commit by the accused or some accomplice a crime punishable by imprisonment for life or for 25 years (Joint Criminal Enterprise), or
• During or immediately after the commission by the accused or some accomplice of a crime punishable by imprisonment for life or for 25 years (Joint Criminal Enterprise).

No act or omission which was not malicious, or for which the accused had lawful cause or excuse, can satisfy a conviction for murder.

Possible Penalties

Those convicted of murder are liable to imprisonment for life, though this does not restrict the Judge from imposing a lesser sentence. There is a standard non-parole period of 20 years for those convicted of murder. A Court is to impose a life sentence if satisfied that the level of culpability in the commission of the offence is so extreme that the community interest in retribution, punishment, community protection and deterrence demands it.

If convicted, a person is more likely to be sentenced severely if their crime is considered ‘aggravated’. Factors of aggravation that can result in life imprisonment include:
• Contract killings
• Mutilation of the bodyImpact on victim’s families
• Possibility of re-offending
• Murders motivated by financial greed
• Where the motive of the murder is to conceal another offence
• Murder arising from planned extortion.

Those convicted of the relatively lesser charge of conspiring to murder someone, or engaging others to commit murder are liable to imprisonment for 25 years. There is a standard non-parole period of 10 years for these offences. Accessories before the fact are liable to the same maximum penalty. An Accessory after the fact is also liable to a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment. Accessories after the fact are usually someone who helps the offender evade justice and are viewed less seriously when they are not responsible for the crime.a

Attempted Murder

Attempted murder, while not as serious as a murder charge, is still considered to be one of the worst offences in the eyes of the law. The charge includes anyone who by any means wounds or causes grievous bodily harm to any person with intent to commit murder. It carries penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment with a standard non-parole period of 10 years. Anyone who by any other means attempts to commit murder is also liable to imprisonment for up to 25 years.

Manslaughter

Every punishable homicide not specified as murder shall be taken to be manslaughter. Broadly defined, manslaughter is death inflicted by a person when the person did not intend to kill.

Different Charges of Manslaughter

There are three distinct categories of involuntary manslaughter:

I. Fatal act occasioned through joint criminal enterprise, where:
• The accused entered into a joint criminal enterprise with a partner(s)
• The partner(s) committed an unlawful and dangerous act resulting in the death of a person
• The act was an incident of carrying out the joint criminal enterprise
• The accused knew that the partner(s) had the means to commit the act
• A reasonable person in the position of the accused would have contemplated that the partner(s) might have committed such an act as an incident of carrying out the joint criminal enterprise.

II. Unlawful and dangerous act carrying with it an appreciable risk of serious injury, where:
• The act of the accused resulted in death
• The act was deliberate
• The act was unlawful and dangerous. An act is unlawful if it involves a deliberate application of force to another person without consent. An act is dangerous if a reasonable person in the position of the accused would have realised that the deceased was being exposed to an appreciable risk of serious injury.

III. Criminal negligence with a high risk that death or grievous bodily harm will follow, where:
• The accused had a duty of care to the deceased
• The accused was negligent and breached that duty of care
• The act resulted in the death of the deceased
• The act fell short of the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances and involved such a high risk that death or really serious bodily harm would follow.

With categories (ii) and (iii) the Crown does not have to establish that the act was done with any particular intention to injure, so long as a reasonable person in the position of the accused would have appreciated the risk.

Penalties: Anyone convicted of manslaughter faces a maximum penalty of imprisonment for up to 25 years

Defence

There are a variety of ways to mitigate a homicide charge, and there are also several defences available that can result in a partial or complete acquittal.

Defences to Murder/Attempted Murder/Manslaughter

Provocation

Resulting from a sudden and temporary loss of self-control that was induced by any act or series of act of the deceased that would have caused a person of ‘ordinary firmness’ to so far lose self-control as to form the intent to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm. A finding of provocation reduces the charge to manslaughter. The onus of proof for provocation is on the defence.

Capacity

Where the person’s capacity to understand events, or to judge whether their actions were right or wrong, or to control themselves was substantially impaired by an abnormality of the mind arising from an underlying condition. Self-induced intoxication, as opposed to involuntary intoxication, does not contribute towards a finding of capacity. The onus is on the accused to prove capacity. Such impairment will result in murder being reduced to manslaughter.

Mental Illness

If a jury or court finds that the accused was mentally ill at the time of committing the act, so as not to be responsible for their actions then a special verdict of not guilty by reason of mental illness must be returned. The person must then be remanded into custody and not released until the court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the safety of the person or any member of the public will not be seriously endangered. Either the prosecution or the defence can seek this verdict; the responsibility is on the party seeking the order to satisfy on the balance of probabilities that the offender suffers from a mental illness.

The rule regarding insanity of the mind states that the party must prove that on the balance of probabilities the accused was affected by a disease of the mind and:

i. Did not know the nature or quality of their act; or

ii. If the accused did know it that they did not appreciate that it was wrong

Battered Person Syndrome

‘Battered Person Syndrome’ refers to a person who has been the victim of assault, abuse, neglect, domestic violence or a combination thereof. It is common for people in these situations to not seek help or support.

There have been occasions where victims have defended themselves against their attackers. This defence, in the context of duress or self-defence, has had some success in Australia

Although ‘Battered Person Syndrome’ is commonly referred to as ‘Battered Wife Syndrome’ it is non gender-specific and can be used as a defence by both women and men.

The onus is on the defence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the elements of ‘Battered Person Syndrome’.

Self-Defence

The defence must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that it was necessary to do what the accused did in self-defence. This is a complete defence to murder and the offender would be entitled to an acquittal. It is a subjective test that asks the jury to determine if the accused was justified in committing the act, rather than if an ordinary person would have acted the same way.

Duress

The defence must establish that the offence was only committed because of threats of violence and/or death against themselves, their family or their friends. The jury must be satisfied that a person of ‘ordinary firmness,’ of the same maturity and sex of the accused and in the same situation would have acted the same way. The Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was either not suffering from duress, that there were reasonable actions the offender could have taken or that an ordinary person in the position of the accused would not have acted the same way.

How can Sydney Criminal Defence Lawyers help?

Our Criminal Lawyers will carefully consider your case, advise you on all your legal options, and recommend the best way forward.

Call us now on 02 8059 7121 or contact us after hours on 0420 998 650 or text 24hrs to book an appointment with one of our solicitors.

The initial consultation is free.

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Years of Prison Reduced across 1000+ Satisfied Clients

Types of murder

The term homicide refers to offences that result in death. As such, the charge can often lead to heavy penalties, such as life imprisonment, and so it is important to attain immediate professional legal advice, regardless of the circumstances.

The three major types of homicide charges are as follows:
Murder

Murder and Attempted Murder are considered two of the most serious charges in the eyes of the law and, under all circumstances legal advice should be sought immediately on receiving such a charge.

Murder is taken to have been committed when death was caused by the accused:

• Acting with reckless indifference to human life, or
• Omitting to act with reckless indifference to human life, or
• With intent to kill, or
• With intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, or
• During an attempt to commit by the accused or some accomplice a crime punishable by imprisonment for life or for 25 years (Joint Criminal Enterprise), or
• During or immediately after the commission by the accused or some accomplice of a crime punishable by imprisonment for life or for 25 years (Joint Criminal Enterprise).

No act or omission which was not malicious, or for which the accused had lawful cause or excuse, can satisfy a conviction for murder.

Possible Penalties

Those convicted of murder are liable to imprisonment for life, though this does not restrict the Judge from imposing a lesser sentence. There is a standard non-parole period of 20 years for those convicted of murder. A Court is to impose a life sentence if satisfied that the level of culpability in the commission of the offence is so extreme that the community interest in retribution, punishment, community protection and deterrence demands it.

If convicted, a person is more likely to be sentenced severely if their crime is considered ‘aggravated’. Factors of aggravation that can result in life imprisonment include:
• Contract killings
• Mutilation of the bodyImpact on victim’s families
• Possibility of re-offending
• Murders motivated by financial greed
• Where the motive of the murder is to conceal another offence
• Murder arising from planned extortion.

Those convicted of the relatively lesser charge of conspiring to murder someone, or engaging others to commit murder are liable to imprisonment for 25 years. There is a standard non-parole period of 10 years for these offences. Accessories before the fact are liable to the same maximum penalty. An Accessory after the fact is also liable to a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment. Accessories after the fact are usually someone who helps the offender evade justice and are viewed less seriously when they are not responsible for the crime.a

Attempted Murder

Attempted murder, while not as serious as a murder charge, is still considered to be one of the worst offences in the eyes of the law. The charge includes anyone who by any means wounds or causes grievous bodily harm to any person with intent to commit murder. It carries penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment with a standard non-parole period of 10 years. Anyone who by any other means attempts to commit murder is also liable to imprisonment for up to 25 years.

Manslaughter

Every punishable homicide not specified as murder shall be taken to be manslaughter. Broadly defined, manslaughter is death inflicted by a person when the person did not intend to kill.

Different Charges of Manslaughter

There are three distinct categories of involuntary manslaughter:

Category 1: Fatal act occasioned through joint criminal enterprise, where:
• The accused entered into a joint criminal enterprise with a partner(s)
• The partner(s) committed an unlawful and dangerous act resulting in the death of a person
• The act was an incident of carrying out the joint criminal enterprise
• The accused knew that the partner(s) had the means to commit the act
• A reasonable person in the position of the accused would have contemplated that the partner(s) might have committed such an act as an incident of carrying out the joint criminal enterprise.

Category 2: Unlawful and dangerous act carrying with it an appreciable risk of serious injury, where:
• The act of the accused resulted in death
• The act was deliberate
• The act was unlawful and dangerous. An act is unlawful if it involves a deliberate application of force to another person without consent. An act is dangerous if a reasonable person in the position of the accused would have realised that the deceased was being exposed to an appreciable risk of serious injury.

Category 3: Criminal negligence with a high risk that death or grievous bodily harm will follow, where:
• The accused had a duty of care to the deceased
• The accused was negligent and breached that duty of care
• The act resulted in the death of the deceased
• The act fell short of the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances and involved such a high risk that death or really serious bodily harm would follow.

With categories 2 and 3, the Crown does not have to establish that the act was done with any particular intention to injure, so long as a reasonable person in the position of the accused would have appreciated the risk.

Penalties: Anyone convicted of manslaughter faces a maximum penalty of imprisonment for up to 25 years

Defences Murder /Attempted Murder /Manslaughter

There are a variety of ways to mitigate a homicide charge, and there are also several defences available that can result in a partial or complete acquittal.
Capacity Defence

Where the person’s capacity to understand events, or to judge whether their actions were right or wrong, or to control themselves was substantially impaired by an abnormality of the mind arising from an underlying condition. Self-induced intoxication, as opposed to involuntary intoxication, does not contribute towards a finding of capacity. The onus is on the accused to prove capacity. Such impairment will result in murder being reduced to manslaughter.

Battered Person Syndrome Defence

‍‘Battered Person Syndrome’ refers to a person who has been the victim of assault, abuse, neglect, domestic violence or a combination thereof. It is common for people in these situations to not seek help or support.

There have been occasions where victims have defended themselves against their attackers. This defence, in the context of duress or self-defence, has had some success in Australia

Although ‘Battered Person Syndrome’ is commonly referred to as ‘Battered Wife Syndrome’ it is non gender-specific and can be used as a defence by both women and men.

The onus is on the defence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the elements of ‘Battered Person Syndrome’.

Duress Defence

The defence must establish that the offence was only committed because of threats of violence and/or death against themselves, their family or their friends. The jury must be satisfied that a person of ‘ordinary firmness,’ of the same maturity and sex of the accused and in the same situation would have acted the same way. The Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was either not suffering from duress, that there were reasonable actions the offender could have taken or that an ordinary person in the position of the accused would not have acted the same way.

Provocation Defence

Resulting from a sudden and temporary loss of self-control that was induced by any act or series of act of the deceased that would have caused a person of ‘ordinary firmness’ to so far lose self-control as to form the intent to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm. A finding of provocation reduces the charge to manslaughter. The onus of proof for provocation is on the defence.

Mental Illness Defence

If a jury or court finds that the accused was mentally ill at the time of committing the act, so as not to be responsible for their actions then a special verdict of not guilty by reason of mental illness must be returned. The person must then be remanded into custody and not released until the court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the safety of the person or any member of the public will not be seriously endangered. Either the prosecution or the defence can seek this verdict; the responsibility is on the party seeking the order to satisfy on the balance of probabilities that the offender suffers from a mental illness.

Self-Defence

The defence must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that it was necessary to do what the accused did in self-defence. This is a complete defence to murder and the offender would be entitled to an acquittal. It is a subjective test that asks the jury to determine if the accused was justified in committing the act, rather than if an ordinary person would have acted the same way.

How can Daoud Legal:
Sydney Criminal Defence & Traffic Lawyers help?

Our criminal defence lawyers will carefully consider your case, advise you on all your legal options, and recommend the best way forward.

Call us now 1300 885 646 or text 0420 998 650 24hrs to book a free consultation with one of our solicitors.

Professional Criminal Lawyer in Sydney for Homicide and Manslaughter

Homicide offences are among the most serious criminal charges an individual can face. At Daoud Legal: Sydney Criminal Defence & Traffic Lawyers, we understand the gravity of these situations and the profound impact they can have on your life.

Our team of experienced criminal lawyers is dedicated to providing comprehensive legal representation and support throughout the entire process.

What Constitutes a Homicide Offence?

A homicide offence refers to the unlawful killing of another person. Under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), there are different types of homicide charges, each with varying degrees of severity and potential penalties. These include:

Murder

Murder is the most serious homicide offence, defined as the intentional or reckless killing of another person. If convicted of murder, an individual can face life imprisonment as the maximum penalty.

Manslaughter

Manslaughter is a less severe form of homicide, classified into three main categories :

  1. Manslaughter by unlawful and dangerous: When a person unintentionally causes death while engaging in an unlawful and dangerous act.
  2. Criminal Negligence Manslaughter: When a person's criminal negligence or recklessness results in the death of another.
  3. Involuntary Manslaughter by Excessive Self-Defence: When a person uses excessive force in self-defence causing grievous bodily harm, resulting in the unintended death of the aggressor.

The maximum penalty for manslaughter offences can vary, but it is generally a substantial term of imprisonment regardless of person criminal record. Whether you inflict grievous bodily harm that causes the death unintended this is still voluntary manslaughter even if you are a reasonable person.

It's important to note that these definitions are complex, and the specific circumstances of each case will determine the appropriate charge and potential penalties.

Experienced Homicide Lawyers in Sydney

At Daoud Legal: Sydney Criminal Defence & Traffic Lawyers, our team of criminal offence lawyers specialises in defending individuals charged with homicide offences. Our lawyers have extensive experience in this area of law and a proven track record of success in even the most complex cases.

Our Approach to Homicide Cases

When defending homicide cases, our approach is thorough, strategic, and focused on achieving the best possible outcome for our clients. We understand that every case is unique, and we tailor our defence strategy accordingly:

Meticulous Investigation and Preparation

We begin by conducting a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the alleged offence. Our team will gather and examine all available evidence, interview witnesses, and explore every potential avenue of defence.

Challenging Charges and Securing Favourable Outcomes

Our goal is to challenge the chargesagainst our clients and secure the most favourable outcome possible. This mayinclude seeking a reduced charge, having the charges dismissed entirely, orachieving a not guilty verdict at trial.

Defending Allegations of Homicide

In homicide cases, there are various defences available under common law and statute law. Our best criminal lawyers Sydney will carefully examine the specific circumstances of your case and develop a tailored defence strategy.

Some potential defences include :

Reasonable self-defence

Mental impairment or substantial impairment

Provocation

Accident or misadventure

Our lawyers will work tirelessly to establish reasonable doubt and present a compelling case to support your defence.

24/7 Support During Investigation

If you or a loved one is under investigation for a homicide offence, it is crucial to seek legal representation immediately. Our team is available 24/7 to provide guidance and support throughout the entire process.

Protecting Your Rights

We will advise you on your right to silence and ensure that your interactions with law enforcement are conducted in accordance with the law. Our lawyers will be present during any police interviews or interrogations to safeguard your rights and interests.

Guidance Through the Court Process

From the initial committal hearing to the trial, our team will be by your side, providing comprehensive guidance and representation. We will ensure that you understand every step of the process and are prepared for what lies ahead.

Homicide Trial Representation

If your case proceeds to trial, you can rest assured that our experienced advocates will be by your side. Our lawyers appear regularly in higher courts, including the District and Supreme Courts, and have a track record of success in defending homicide cases.

Expert Examination and Cross-Examination

Our team excels in the art of examination and cross-examination, ensuring that all relevant evidence is presented in a clear and compelling manner. We will meticulously scrutinise the prosecution's case and challenge any weaknesses or inconsistencies.

What Happens if Found Guilty ?

In the event that a guilty verdict is reached, our work does not stop there. We will guide you through the sentencing process, ensuring that all mitigating factors are considered and that any unduly harsh sentences are challenged through the appeals process.

Get In Touch with Our Sydney Criminal Lawyers

If you or someone you know is facing homicide charges, it is imperative to seek legal representation from experienced criminal lawyers. At Daoud Legal, we offer confidential consultations and are available to discuss your case in detail.

Contact Us

Call us now on 1300 885 646 or text 0420 998 650 24 hrs.

Alternatively, you can fill out our online enquiry form, and one of our lawyers will respond promptly.

Testimonials from Past Clients

"The team at Daoud Legal provided exceptional legal representation during my trial. Their unwavering commitment and expertise were instrumental in achieving a favourable outcome."

Nicole Nicolosi

"I cannot thank Rob and his lawyers at Daoud Legal enough for their dedication and support throughout my case. Their guidance and advocacy were invaluable."

Leo Maistry

We've Helped Many Clients Facing Serious Charges

At Daoud Legal: Sydney Criminal Defence & Traffic Lawyers, our senior lawyers have decades of combined experience defending clients against complex and serious criminal charges, including homicide offences. Our reputation as a leading criminal law firm in Sydney is built on a foundation of successful outcomes and satisfied clients.

When you choose to work with us, you can have peace of mind knowing that your case is in the hands of a team of dedicated professionals who will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome.

Get the Representation You Need from the Start

If you or a loved one is facing homicide charges, it is crucial to seek expert criminal defence lawyer from the outset. Every moment counts, and the decisions you make early on can have a profound impact on the outcome of your case.

Call us now on 1300 885 646 or text 0420 998 650 24hrs to discuss your case with an experienced homicide lawyer. Our team is available 24/7 to provide the guidance and support you need during this challenging time.

Don't risk your future. Trust Daoud Legal to defend your rights and protect your interests throughout the entire legal process.

FAQs About Murder & Manslaughter Charges

What is manslaughter?

Manslaughter is a serious criminal offence in Australia, defined as the unlawful killing of another person without the intent to cause death. It can arise from criminal negligence, excessive self-defence, or other circumstances where the accused did not intend to kill but caused the death through reckless or negligent actions.

What is the difference between manslaughter and murder?

The main difference between manslaughter and murder lies in the intent to kill. Murder charges involve the intentional killing of another person, while manslaughter refers to unintentional killings resulting from criminal negligence, recklessness, or excessive force in self-defence.

What should I do if I'm charged with manslaughter?

If you're charged with manslaughter, it's crucial to seek legal representation from experienced criminal defence lawyers or a reputable criminal law firm in Sydney immediately. Manslaughter is a serious criminal offence that can result in severe punishment, including substantial prison sentences.

How can a specialist criminal lawyer help with a manslaughter case?

A specialist criminal lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in a manslaughter case. They will thoroughly analyse the evidence, investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident, and develop a comprehensive defence strategy tailored to your specific situation. Their expertise in criminal law and advocacy skills can significantly improve your chances of achieving the best possible outcome.

What are some potential defences for manslaughter charges?

Depending on the circumstances, potential defences for manslaughter charges may include self-defence, provocation, substantial impairment by an abnormality of mind, or arguing that the actions were reasonable in the circumstances. An experienced criminal lawyer can evaluate the details of your case and determine the most appropriate defence strategy.

Why is it important to choose a reputable criminal law firm in Sydney?

Choosing a reputable criminal law firm in Sydney is crucial when facing serious criminal charges like manslaughter. These firms have a proven track record of successfully defending clients in complex criminal cases, access to extensive resources, and a team of highly skilled and experienced criminal lawyers who understand the intricacies of the Australian criminal justice system.

What should I look for in a criminal defence law firm?

When seeking a criminal defence law firm, look for one with a strong reputation and accredited criminal law specialists. Consider their experience in handling similar cases, their success rates, and their commitment to providing personalised attention and expert legal advice. It's also important to find a firm with lawyers who can effectively communicate with you and understand your specific needs and goals.

Can a good lawyer make a difference in a manslaughter case?

Yes, having a good lawyer can make a significant difference in a manslaughter case. An experienced and skilled criminal defence lawyer can thoroughly investigate the case, identify weaknesses in the prosecution's argument, present compelling evidence and arguments in your defence, and potentially secure a more favourable outcome, such as reduced charges or a lighter sentence.

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