Criminal Law

Murder Related Offences

What Does The Prosecution Have To Prove?

In order for the prosecution to prove a principal offence for the charge of murder the prosecution must satisfy a jury of each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused either:
    a) Did an act, or one or more acts in a series of acts, that was a significant or substantial cause of the death of the victim or
    b) Acted in concert with another, each doing acts which, in aggregate, were a significant or substantial cause of the death of the victim;
  2. The killing was unlawful (that is, not authorised, justified or excused by law);
  3. The accused intended to kill the victim or cause him an injury of such a nature as to endanger or be likely to endanger the victim’s life.

What Is The Penalty For Murder?

The mandatory penalty for murder by an adult is life imprisonment, unless that sentence would be clearly unjust given the circumstances of the offence and the offender is unlikely to be a threat to the safety of the community when released from imprisonment. Section 279 Criminal Code.

Where life imprisonment is imposed, the court must set a minimum term or order that the offender never is released. Section 90 (1)(a) of the Sentencing Act 1995 provides that the minimum term must be at least 10 years. There is no upper limit.

Which Court Will Hear And Determine A Charge Of Murder?

Murder is an indictable offence. The offence carries a penalty of life imprisonment and can only be heard and determined in the Supreme Court.

What Are The Possible Defences To A Charge Of Murder?

The following defences are capable of being run at a trial involving an offence of murder:

  • Self-defence or defence of another
  • The defence of Accident
  • The defence of Provocation
  • The defence of Insanity
  • The victim is not deceased
  • The accused was not involved in the offence
  • The accused did not cause the death of the victim

An Unlawful killing of another person (that is not authorised, justified or excused by law)  by doing an act or one or more acts in a series of acts (alone or in concert with another), that was a significant or substantial cause of the death of the victim.

The unlawful killing must have been done with either an intention to kill, or an intention to cause injury of such a nature that is likely to endanger the victim’s life.

If you are facing murder charges, it’s essential that you have an experienced criminal defence lawyer on your side. Contact Andrew Williams on (08) 9278 2575 for legal advice today.

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