What is Murder?
The act of murder is considered to have occurred in circumstances where the accused is alleged to have caused another’s death. Such circumstances can include where the accused:
Intended to kill
Intended to inflict grievous bodily harm
Acted with reckless indifference to human life
Failed to act with reckless indifference to human life
Was in the process of committing another offence which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 25 years or more
The act that led to the death of another person must have been done with malice, and without any lawful cause or defence.
Murder & The Law
Section 18 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) sets out the offence of Murder.
What the Prosecution need to Prove (Beyond a Reasonable Doubt):
The key element to the offence of Murder is the Intent.
It must involve a planned or premeditated action that was intended to harm the person. It requires intent to harm the other person and take their life.
This state of mind, or intention to cause serious harm to another, is often referred to in legal terms as ‘mens rea’. For the charge to be proven, mens rea needs to be shown to have existed at the time of committing the offence.
Going to Court – “What am I looking at?”
Murder is the most serious crime and is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to life, with a standard non-parole period of 20 years.
A life sentence will only be imposed in circumstances where it is considered that the level of culpability is so high and the factors of aggravation are such that the accused poses a threat too great to the general society for an indeterminate period.
Aggravated Factors in Murder
An offence of murder can be considered aggravated if the following aspects apply:
It was a contract killing or motivated by financial greed
Mutilation of defiling of the corpse occurred
The murder occurred as a result of a planned kidnapping or extortion
There exists a possibility that a person may commit such an offence in the future
The nature of the victim’s occupation and standing in society is also a factor in sentencing, where a standard non-parole period of 25 years applies to any person who has murdered any of the following people while in their duty of work :
A government official, councillor, correctional or police officer
A community or health worker
A judicial officer
A public official
If the victim was a minor, under the age of 18 years, there is a standard non-parole period of 25 years.
What about Conspiracy to Murder?
Conspiracy to murder involves when two or more people are found to have been plotting the killing of another. It can also involve encouraging or soliciting another person commit the act. The targeted person does not need to be deceased for this charge to be proven. It is sufficient for the Prosecution to have proven that there existed a conspiracy or plot between people to murder the person.
This is a lesser charge to Murder, and those persons who have been found guilty of either conspiring to murder someone, or who have engaged others to commit murder face up to 25 years imprisonment. The standard non parole period to Conspiracy to Murder is 10 years.
What about Accessory After the Fact?
An Accessory After the Fact is usually a person who assists someone who has committed a murder to evade, escape capture or hide evidence. They are not responsible for the actual act of the murder, and as such face a less severe penalty. They are liable to a maximum penalty of up to 25 years.
Lawyer Call here to help..
Understandably, facing a charge of Murder can be overwhelming and an expert legal defence team is required. A lengthy term of imprisonment would be expected for any type of conviction.
Contact our office immediately for a professional initial conference. Some of the key aspects to consider will be the very severe penalties of such an offence, and the rights of an accused during the entire Court process, particularly in relation to right to Silence, and general interaction with Police.
A close analysis of potential defences such as Mental Illness, Capacity, Battered Person Syndrome, Provocation, Self Defence and Duress is very important to establish a position and obtain a clear direction in such a matter.
At Lawyer Call we have the expertise and understand that the correct management of such a sensitive matter through the long Court processes is crucial to putting up the right fight for you.