If you have been charged with murder or a similar offence, it is imperative that you speak to a suitably qualified criminal defence lawyer immediately. If you have not yet been formally interviewed, it is highly recommended you request to speak to a lawyer before you proceed with an interview. I have many years of criminal defence experience and regularly represent clients on serious charges in the Supreme Court. My extensive knowledge and experience on the laws surrounding murder and manslaughter will ensure your case is presented in the most appropriate way to achieve the desired outcome.

The unlawful killing of another person can result in a range of different charges, the most serious of which is murder, which comes with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, in particular, the level of blame that can be placed on the accused, a charge of manslaughter may be applied if appropriate. In Victoria, both murder and manslaughter charges are heard in the Supreme Court.

While murder is the intentional and unlawful killing of another person, voluntary manslaughter is less premeditated and may have been provoked. Involuntary manslaughter on the other hand, relates to cases where there is no intent to kill, however, loss of life has occurred due illegal behaviour that is negligent or reckless.

If you are accused of murder or manslaughter, you may be charged first then interviewed, or interviewed first before charges are laid, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime. Either way, it is important that you engage a lawyer as soon as possible to help you understand your options and the process that lies ahead. If charges are upheld and you are summoned to court, you may be remanded in custody until your case is heard, in which case you may be eligible to apply for bail.

Due to the complexities and seriousness of the crime, a murder trial can continue on for many months or even years. You will be required to enter a plea and the prosecution must prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. If you are found guilty, the court will determine the penalty, the maximum for a murder charge being life imprisonment, while for manslaughter charges the penalty can be significantly less.

Homicide offenses cover incidents where there has been a loss of life. While there are varying degrees of charges based on the level of intent, all are extremely serious and will come under one of the following areas:

• murder
• manslaughter
• conspiracies
• suicide pact.