Lawyers NSW

What is Manslaughter?


Manslaughter covers all types of offences involving a homicide (a death of another person) which is not covered by the offence of murder. It is a death inflicted by another person where there was no intent to kill that person. It is often accidental and unintended.

In NSW, there are two forms of Manslaughter: voluntary and involuntary.

What is Voluntary Manslaughter?


This involves an action on part of the accused which would normally satisfy the intent elements required to prove a charge of Murder, however, due to a defence such as self defence or provocation being established, the accused’s culpability is reduced to manslaughter.

What is Involuntary Manslaughter?


This involves an action where there was no intent to cause death to the deceased, however, this resulted nevertheless from conduct which is either:

  1. Criminally negligent with a high risk that death might result; or

  2. Unlawful or dangerous with a high risk of death or injury


The death resulting from such acts is entirely unintentional and accidental, with no premeditation. Motor vehicle accidents are a common example of such offence.


What the Prosecution need to Prove (Beyond a Reasonable Doubt):


There are difference charges of involuntary manslaughter:

A. Cases involving criminal negligence where there existed a high risk that death would result:

  • This involves the negligent action of an accused, where there was a failure of duty of care to the care, and as a result death resulted. 

  • The Prosecution does not need to prove that the act was done with an intention to cause death or injury, but simply that the accused failed to appreciate the risk


B. Cases involving unlawful or dangerous action with an appreciable risk of injury.


  • This involves an act that resulted in death of another person which was deliberate, dangerous and unlawful, and done without the consent of the other person

  • The Prosecution does not need to prove that the act was done with an intention to cause death or injury, but simply that the accused failed to appreciate the risk


C. Act causing death committed in the process a of joint criminal enterprise with another person

  • This involves the accused committing an unlawful act with the application of force to another person without their consent, and carrying this act out while in the company of another as a joint criminal enterprise.

  • The accused must have known that the partners in the enterprise would have the means to commit the unlawful act

  • Considering all the circumstances, the accused should have realised the potential for the act to have been committed by any of the people in the enterprise, but failed to act to stop it.

  • The Prosecution must prove that the act was unlawful and done with a specific intent to cause harm, and the accused should have been able to appreciate the high risk of injuries occurring but failed to cease the conduct. 


Manslaughter & The Law


Section 18 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) sets out the offence of Manslaughter.

Going to Court – “What am I looking at?”


Manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of up to 25 years imprisonment and is dealt with before a Judge in the Supreme Court. However, this sentence is usually reserved for the most serious cases and for accused persons with a considerable prior criminal history. For first time offenders, a common term of imprisonment for such offences ranges between six to eight years, and this can potentially be reduced further depending on the circumstances of the case, the demonstrated remorse and contrition shown, and the prospects of rehabilitation for the individual.

Lawyer Call here to help..


Understandably, facing a charge of Manslaughter can be overwhelming and an expert legal defence team is required.


Contact Lawyer Call and together with our experienced  solicitors, such matters are often negotiated with Prosecution for a better version of the alleged Police facts and the downgrading from a more serious charge for a more lenient sentence on a plea of guilty with a considerable discount.


Alternatively, our expert defence Counsel can also fight for your plea of Not guilty, should a potential defence be available such as Mental Illness, Capacity, Battered Person Syndrome, Provocation, Self Defence and Duress. These may be used to produce a successful acquittal of all charges.


At Lawyer Call we have the expertise and appropriate Barristers and Senior Legal Counsel available to assist you in your matter. We understand that the correct management of such a sensitive case through the long Court processes is crucial to putting up the right fight for you. 






“I cannot begin to thank Paul for his tireless efforts with my case. Would recommend them anybody with a criminal matter their clear communication and expert advice got me my best possible outcome”


—  Casey, Nurse


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