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The offence of manslaughter is somewhat complicated, particularly because of its close relationship to the offence of murder.
In NSW an act or a failure to act that results in the death of another person is considered to be a "homicide". Homicides are then divided into two categories; murder and manslaughter.
Murder is the more serious type of homicide where the offender is alleged to have intended to kill or seriously injure the victim, or where they have acted with reckless indifference to the victim’s life.
Any homicide that is not a murder may be a manslaughter. While manslaughter is considered to be the less serious of the two homicide offences it is still considered to be one of the most serious criminal offences.
A person can be charged with manslaughter if they did something that resulted in the death of another person, but where the offence falls short of murder because they didn’t intend to kill or seriously injure the victim, or where they have acted with reckless indifference to the victim’s life.
A person can also be charged with manslaughter if they failed to do something, resulting in the death of another person, and that they were grossly negligent in failing to act.
A very common example of manslaughter is committing an unlawful and dangerous act which results in the death of another person.
The maximum penalty for manslaughter is imprisonment for 25 years.
The offence of manslaughter is largely contained in common law principles. The offence of manslaughter is however addressed in sections 18 of the Crimes Act. The section states:
Examples of manslaughter include:
The common ways to defend this charge are:
The offence is a strictly indictable offence and must be finalised in the District or Supreme Court.
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.