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Murder is one of the most serious offences that you can face in Australia. In Section 302 of the Criminal Code 1899, murder or homicide is described as the wilful killing of a person either intentionally, or with reckless indifference (also called culpability). This may include the intent to cause grievous bodily harm to the person killed.

A murder charge may also be laid if it is found that the killing happened during another unlawful act that was likely to endanger a person’s life (constructive murder). Reckless or dangerous driving that results in a death is not considered to be murder. Attempted murder is when there is an attempt to kill someone that is unsuccessful, but the intent is there.


Manslaughter can be divided into two categories. If someone is killed as a result of a careless or negligent act, but there is no intent to kill, it is deemed to be involuntary manslaughter. For voluntary manslaughter, the elements of murder must also be established, but the death of the victim is deemed to have happened due to extreme provocation, because you are in an impaired state of mind or unable to control your actions (diminished responsibility).

An act that may be constituted as murder does not just involve violent actions such as shooting someone or causing serious bodily harm with an object. It can also include infanticide, where a child’s death is caused directly by the negligence of the parent, such as purposefully not feeding them.

Facing a charge of murder in Australia contact the expert Murder Lawyer


Whether you are charged with murder, manslaughter or attempted murder will be determined by the circumstance of what happened during the incident. Was the act committed voluntarily? Was there an intention to cause injury or death? Is there any justification around what you did? For example, was it self-defence? These are all questions and situations that you need to consider before you enter a plea.

The elements for proving a murder offence can be quite complicated. It is crucial that you obtain legal advice before you take part in any police recording or interview. The police need to prove all of the elements in order to get a conviction, and these elements include:

  • Where the victim died.
  • The cause of death was due to the act, or failure to do an act.
  • The act was unlawful and had no lawful reason.
  • There was intention to kill or to cause grievous bodily harm.
  • Knowing that death was a probable outcome of the act.
  • The victim died in the process of a crime which is a serious indictable offence, one that is punishable by 25 years or life imprisonment.

If the prosecution fails to prove all of these elements, it could result in an acquittal or a not guilty verdict. Should you be found guilty, you could face severe consequences. Punishment for murder in Victoria can be life imprisonment (level 1 imprisonment). Manslaughter charges may result in a maximum penalty of 25 years. Conspiracy to murder or to solicit someone to commit murder would also result in life imprisonment if found guilty.

If you have an alibi, you must give notice of such within the allocated time period. This is considered to be a complete defence as it would therefore not be possible to prove that the cause of death was due to an act by the accused.

CrimLegal has represented clients in some of the highest profile Australian homicide cases within the last 10 years. Furthermore, we know many of the homicide squad members and their manner of dealing with murder investigations, so you get advice with the benefit of our in depth and specific experience dealing with members of the Police. We also have access to the best QCs, who specialise in murder charges in the event that you require a barrister for your matter. Call the expert Murder Lawyer on 1300 388 298 for urgent advice.


Our criminal law specialist, Glenn Thexton, provides answers
to your common criminal law questions:

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