Lewenberg & Lewenberg has successfully defended clients who have been charged with murder and related offences and we have seen our practice thrive in this practice area as a result.
Homicide is the act of lawfully or unlawfully killing a person. Common offences under this definition include:
Like most other criminal offences, there is both a physical element and a mental or fault element. In order to prove the crime of murder, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
- The victim’s death was caused by the accused person (also referred to as “the causation element”); and
- The accused person acted in a conscious, voluntary and deliberate manner; and
- The accused person had the intent to kill or cause really serious injury to the victim; and
- The accused did not believe that his/her conduct was necessary to defend himself/herself or another person from being killed or serious injury.
A person found guilty of murder is liable to a maximum term of life imprisonment.
There are three forms of manslaughter in Victoria. They include unlawful and dangerous act manslaughter, negligent manslaughter and manslaughter by omission. Unlawful and dangerous act manslaughter is the most commonly charged manslaughter offence.
Unlawful and Dangerous Act manslaughter
This offence applies where elements 1 & 2 (above) of Murder are proven but element 3 is not. Before a person can be convicted of this offence, the prosecution must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that:
- The accused person intended the act which caused the victim’s death (the causation element); and
- The act committed was unlawful; and
- The act committed was dangerous; and
- The accused did not act in self-defence.
A person found guilty of manslaughter is liable to maximum term of 20 years imprisonment.