murder manslaughter lawyers Central Coast NSW 2250
 
The Covid-19 pandemic is creating daily challenges for everyone. We remain open to assist you 24/7 and have systems in place to attend to your Criminal Law matter during this time.

The police are now issuing Court Attendance Notices to attend court 8 weeks from the date of being charged or more. If you have received a Court Attendance Notice this may be very worrying. You may prefer that the matter be dealt with quickly. It may be possible to have your matter listed before the Court and dealt with at an earlier date. We have successfully liaised with the Courts and the Police to have some matters listed early and settled quickly. Please contact Fourtree Lawyers on 1300 529 444 to see if your matter qualifies.

Murder and manslaughter charges are very serious. They are regarded as some of the worst crimes that can be committed.

What is Manslaughter?

Manslaughter is to cause the unintentional death of another person. This is often caused by an accidental or random act. There are four situations that may lead to a charge of manslaughter.

The prosecution needs to prove at least one of the following:

Unlawful and Dangerous Act

Where, as a result of your unlawful and dangerous actions, someone is killed, and you knew or should have known that your actions could result in serious injury or death. The prosecution will need to prove:

  • Your actions were unlawful and resulted in the death of a person.
  • That self defence did not apply.
  • A reasonable person would have realised their actions could result in serious injury or death.
  • A reasonable person would have had knowledge that their actions were dangerous.

Excessive or Unreasonable Self-Defence

While defending yourself, your property or another person, you acted excessively or unreasonably, and your actions caused the death of another person. The prosecution will need to prove:

  • The actions were a substantial reason for the other person’s death.
  • Those actions were intentional or reckless.
  • The conduct was unreasonable and excessive. The Court will take into consideration the situation in which the death arose and if those actions were reasonable.

Negligence

Where you owed a ‘duty of care’ and a reasonable person in your situation would have realised your actions were negligent and could have resulted in death or serious injury. The prosecution will need to prove:

  • Your actions breached the duty of care.
  • The breach was the substantial cause of death.The breach deserves to be punished.
  • Your actions will be compared to how a reasonable person would have acted in your situation.
  • A reasonable person is someone that is the same age, gender, similar education and training who is not affected by alcohol.

Manslaughter by omission

Omission means where you were legally obliged to perform an action and failed to do so. The prosecution will need to prove:

  • You had a legal obligation to perform an action
  • You failed to perform the action
  • The failure to perform the action substantially contributed to the death of a person

What are penalties for Manslaughter?

If you’re found guilty of manslaughter the maximum penalty is 25 years imprisonment. However, the average sentence for manslaughter is 7 years.

Are there any defences to Manslaughter?

There are several defences that can be used for manslaughter. These include:

  • Automatism - an act is done without the control of the mind.
  • Duress - they were forced to act in this way by someone else under the threat of death or serious harm to the person, their family or dependants.
  • Self-defence – the use of force to defend themselves, their property or another person.
  • Necessity - circumstances (natural or human threats) bear upon the accused, inducing the accused to break the law to avoid even more dire consequences.
  • Mental illness - a person was suffering from a mental illness and was not responsible for their actions.

What is Murder?

Murder is intentionally causing the death of another person. This involves planned and premeditated actions to take the life of another person. It is defined under section 18 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) as causing another person’s death

  • With reckless indifference to human life; or
  • with the intent to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm; or
  • in an attempt to commit a crime punishable by imprisonment of 25 years or more.

The prosecution needs to prove any one of the above. If the prosecution is unable to prove the intent to cause someone serious harm or death, you can still be found guilty of manslaughter. Murder offences are dealt with in the Supreme Court.

What are penalties for Murder?

The maximum penalty for murder is life in prison. However, this does not mean you will get the maximum sentence, that is only for the most serious cases.

Are there any defences to Murder?

Murder has the same defences as manslaughter with the exception of having an additional partial defence of extreme provocation.
Extreme provocation applies when the action of the person on trial for murder, was in response to extreme provocation. If it applies, you will not be found guilty of murder, but you will be found guilty of manslaughter. Extreme provocation only applies if:

  1. the act of the accused that causes death was in response to conduct of the deceased towards or affecting the accused, and
  2. the conduct of the deceased was a serious indictable offence, and
  3. the conduct of the deceased caused the accused to lose self-control, and
  4. the conduct of the deceased could have caused an ordinary person to lose self-control to the extent of intending to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm on the deceased.

We are here to help

Fourtree Lawyers have extensive experience defending clients from the Central Coast and Hunter regions facing serious criminal charges in Court. If you or a loved one have been charged with murder or manslaughter and the police ask you to participate in a record of interview you should exercise your “right to silence” and call us immediately.

Your lawyer can explain and guide you through the Court process and work with you to minimise the legal ramifications of your offence.

Contact our Central Coast Lawyers on 1300 529 444 as soon as possible. The earlier we can start building the strongest case possible, the higher your chance of getting the best possible outcome.

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