Being charged with murder is the most serious allegation in terms of offending behaviour, one could be facing. Murder, as defined by section 18(1)(a) Crimes Act 1900, is made out where a voluntary act or omission of the accused causes the death of the deceased and the act is committed with:
- an intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, or
- an intent to kill, or
- reckless indifference to human life, or
- committed by the accused person or some accomplice with him or her in an attempt to commit, or during immediately after the commission of, an offence punishable by at least 25 years imprisonment (constructive murder).
What issues often arise at a murder trial?
A criminal trial for an allegation of murder can be lengthy and complex. Issues at law are often argued in respect of admissibility. For this reason, one needs intelligent and tenacious solicitors as well as experienced counsel. By way of example, the following issues are commonly raised during a murder trial:
- Voluntary act of the accused, including acts of the deceased and causation
- Self defence and excessive self-defence
- Substantial impairment by abnormality of mind
Why choose us?
At McKenzie McLoughlin Law, our two criminal lawyers are ready to act for you and provide you with outstanding representation should you be charged with murder. As former investigators from the Police, Josh and James know how police investigate and collaborate a brief of evidence. This is a considerable advantage when charged with such an offence. In addition, and as former prosecutors for the Police and DPP, they are experienced in meticulously reviewing briefs of evidence and identifying any strengths and weaknesses of the case.
Josh and James know that there is often two sides to every story and are dedicated to getting the best results for their clients. For a charge of murder, Josh and James have access to the best counsel in New South Wales. Contact Josh and James for intelligent legal representation.
Manslaughter is defined in section 18(1) of the Crimes Act 1900. It is interesting to note that the definition includes ‘every other punishable homicide’. From this reference, the flexibility of the offence can be seen. Manslaughter extends from the verge of murder to the verge of excusable homicide.
Manslaughter can be divided into two areas being ‘voluntary manslaughter’, and ‘involuntary manslaughter.’
i) Voluntary manslaughter
This is where there is a killing, which on the face of it amounts to murder, but is reduced to manslaughter by reason of mitigating circumstances such as provocation, diminished responsibility (i.e. abnormality of the mind) or infanticide.
ii) Involuntary manslaughter
Under this heading there is no prima facie evidence of murder. Here there is a lesser level of criminal intent than required for murder. There are two types of involuntary manslaughter which are, ‘act or omission by gross negligence’ or an ‘act which is unlawful and dangerous.’
What does ‘an act or omission by gross negligence’ mean?
In very simple terms, it will be manslaughter where the accused person causes the death of a person by an act or an omission which falls so far short of the standard of care required by a reasonable person, that it goes beyond a matter of civil wrong and amounts to a crime.
In respect of the term ‘negligence’, this is the failure by a person to observe the standard of care required of a sane and reasonable person in the given situation. Criminal negligence is a very high degree of carelessness going beyond mere civil negligence and satisfying the jury that the conduct of the accused showed such disregard to the life and safety of others as to amount to a crime against the state.
It is important to note that whether negligence is to be regarded as of such nature to constitute criminal negligence is a question for the jury based upon the facts. Consent of the deceased is no defence to a matter of this type.
What’s an act which is unlawful and dangerous?
In the High Court decision of Wilson (1992), the Court held that the proper test is “an unlawful and dangerous act carrying with it an appreciable risk of serious injury”. The relevant test is an objective test so as to test whether, ‘would all sober and reasonable people recognise the danger.’
If you are dealing with the offence of manslaughter, strongly consider Josh and James at McKenzie McLoughlin Law for legal representation. They are former prosecutors and are passionate about putting their clients first. Josh and James are dedicated to representing the best needs of their clients. They have access to experienced counsel and are ready to start working on your case today.