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Homicide Lawyer Perth

If you or someone you know is charged in regards to the death of another, or is important that they obtain sound legal advice from the start. We accept urgent and after hours calls if you or someone you know is being questioned by police regarding a death, and you are provided with your right to speak to a criminal lawyer.

Chambers Legal can be contacted 24/7 on (08) 9500 8915.

What is murder?

Murder means that you unlawfully kill someone and:

  1. intend to cause their death or the death of another person; or
  2. intend to cause a bodily injury of such a nature as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, the life of the person killed or of another person; or
  3. the death is caused by means of an act done in the prosecution of an unlawful purpose, which act is of such a nature as to be likely to endanger human life.

What is the penalty for murder?

The penalty for murder is life imprisonment.

In cases where it would clearly be unjust to impose life imprisonment given the circumstances of the offence and the person, and where the offender is unlikely to be a threat to the safety of the community when released, that person can be sentenced to imprisonment for 20 years.

Defence of Self-defence

Self-defence can be a defence to murder.

In circumstances where the accused person relies on self-defence, but the act that results in the death of another is not a reasonable response in the circumstances (or was excessive self-defence), then then the accused can be found guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter.

Defence of insanity


Insanity is a defence to murder. In order to rely on insanity, the accused must demonstrate that at the time of doing the act or making the omission, he was in such a state of mental impairment as to deprive him of capacity to understand what he is doing, or of capacity to control his actions, or of capacity to know that he ought not to do the act or make the omission.

Relying on insanity generally requires expert evidence from psychiatrists and other medical practitioners who can give evidence about the accused’s mental impairment.

If an accused person is acquitted of murder on the basis of insanity, there is generally an order that they be detained in a psychiatric facility.

What is manslaughter?

Manslaughter means that:

  1. the accused caused the death of the victim;
  2. the accused did not intend to kill or intend to cause grievous bodily harm; and
  3. the killing was not justified or excused at law.

The Criminal Code also sets out duties relating to the preservation of life, namely a duty to provide necessaries of life to people in your care including dependent family members and a duty to use reasonable care when in charge of a dangerous thing. A breach of these duties may result in a charge of manslaughter by criminal negligence.

Manslaughter may also be charged in particularly serious cases of car accidents that have resulted in another person’s death (sometimes referred to as vehicular manslaughter).

Defence of accident

The defence of accident means that the death was not intended or foreseen by the accused and was not reasonably foreseeable by an ordinary person.

What is the penalty for manslaughter?

Like murder, the maximum penalty for manslaughter is life imprisonment.

Unlawful assault causing death

Unlawful assault causing death means that:

  1. the accused has unlawfully assaulted another person; and
  2. the other person dies as a direct or indirect result of the assault.

It does not matter if the accused did not intend or foresee the death of another person and even if the death of that person was not reasonably foreseeable.

This offence applies in situations such as “one punch” or “coward punch” assaults where the victim might fall, hit their head on the ground and die from those injuries. It also applies where the victim has a pre-existing medical condition that may make them more susceptible to injury.

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