What is murder?

The offence of Murder is found at section 18 of the Crimes Act 1900.

Murder is the most serious offence in the Crimes Act 1900 on account of the value that society places on a human life. It is difficult to prove on account of the intention that the prosecution has to prove that the Accused person possessed. A murder charge will be reduced to manslaughter where there is present in the offender a state of mind that would support a conviction of murder (the act or omission causing death was committed with intent to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm or with reckless indifference to human life) but the culpability of the offender’s conduct is reduced by reason of excessive self-defence, provocation, or substantial impairment by abnormality of mind.

If you are charged with the offence of Murder, your options will normally be to plead guilty or not guilty.

Pleading not guilty

In order to be found guilty of this offence, the police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. You committed an act or omission causing death:
  2. With intent to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm (really serious harm). The necessary mental state must exist at the time of the act or acts of the accused that caused the death of the victim. However, it is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that the accused intended to cause the death or the injury in a particular way; or
  3. With reckless indifference to human life (you did an act foreseeing that it is probable – as distinct from possible – that death would result from that act); or
  4. The death occurred during you committing an offence which is punishable for life or 25 years.

You will be found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter if:

  • You committed the act under provocation in that your act was the result of a loss of self-control induced by the conduct of the deceased (including grossly insulting words or gestures) towards you and that conduct of the deceased was such that it could have induced an ordinary person in your position to have lost self-control as to have formed an intent to kill, or to inflict grievous bodily harm upon, the deceased.
  • You committed the act using excessive self-defence in that the act or omission causing death was committed where there is a reasonable possibility that you were acting in self-defence but your conduct was unreasonable because it was excessive or for any other reason.
  • You committed the act with a substantial impairment by abnormality of mind in that at the time of the acts or omissions causing the death concerned, your capacity to understand events, or to judge whether your actions were right or wrong, or to control yourself, was substantially impaired by an abnormality of mind arising from an underlying condition and the impairment was so substantial as to warrant liability for murder being reduced to manslaughter.

Complete defences to Murder to be found not guilty include:

Contact our offices in Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown or Redfern to organise a time for one of our criminal lawyers to advise you of your prospects of successfully defending the charge of Murder.

Pleading guilty

If you agree that you have committed the offence (and the police are able to prove so), it is best to plead guilty as you will normally receive a discount on sentence and it will demonstrate remorse and contrition. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to less serious facts or even a less serious charge.

The offence of Murder carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment in the Supreme Court. It has a standard non parole period of 20 years imprisonment. However, this penalty is typically reserved for the worst offenders. Murder is an extremely serious criminal offences and if you are charged with it you should contact our office immediately.

Penalties that a court can impose in NSW are:

Why choose AC Law Group?

Our solicitors are experts at obtaining the best outcome possible for murder offences. For these offences, a good lawyer can be the difference between a conviction or clean record and freedom or gaol. To read more about AC Law Group, click here.

To discuss your murder charge, call AC Law Group at our Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown and Redfern offices or make a website inquiry today.

Case Study

Mr Adut represented a client charged with murder following a stray bullet in a gang shootout hitting a bystander. He was one of a number of co-Accused. Mr Adut subpoenaed the police in order to uncover how alleged admissions were obtained from the Accused. The subpoenaed material revealed information not in the Brief and that the police had acted illegally and deliberately concealed how they obtained the alleged admissions. In consequence of those subpoenas, the officer responsible was cross examined on voir dire and the judge excluded the alleged admissions. Following the alleged admissions being ruled inadmissible, the Crown withdrew the charge of murder and accepted a plea of guilty to Affray.

Mr Adut has a representation for holding the police to account for misconduct as a Blacktown and Sydney Lawyer.

Contact us to book a FREE first consultation

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