Murder Charges

s.302 Murder (Criminal Code Queensland)


(1) Except as hereinafter set forth, a person who unlawfully kills another under any of the following circumstances, that is to say—

(a) if the offender intends to cause the death of the person killed or that of some other person or if the offender intends to do to the person killed or to some other person some grievous bodily harm;

(b) if 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;

(c) if the offender intends to do grievous bodily harm to some person for the purpose of facilitating the commission of a crime which is such that the offender may be arrested without warrant, or for the purpose of facilitating the flight of an offender who has committed or attempted to commit any such crime;

(d) if death is caused by administering any stupefying or overpowering thing for either of the purposes mentioned in paragraph (c);

(e) if death is caused by wilfully stopping the breath of any person for either of such purposes; 

(f) is guilty of”murder” .

(2) Under subsection (1) (a) it is immaterial that the offender did not intend to hurt the particular person who is killed.

(3) Under subsection (1) (b) it is immaterial that the offender did not intend to hurt any person.

(4) Under subsection (1) (c) to (e) it is immaterial that the offender did not intend to cause death or did not know that death was likely to result.

In Queensland, it is an offence to unlawfully kill another person. A person may be charged with this offence if they intend to cause the death of the person killed or another person, if they intend to cause grievous bodily harm to the person killed or another person, if the death occurred in the prosecution of an unlawful purpose which was likely to endanger human life, if they intended to do grievous bodily harm to another person in order to facilitate the commission of another crime or flee the scene of a crime, or if they wilfully stopped the breath of another person which caused them to die.

In relation to murder in circumstances where the offender killed another person during the prosecution of an unlawful purpose, an unlawful purpose includes committing an offence which was likely to endanger human life. For example, punching another person in the head or spiking a person’s drink with a Dangerous Drug would be conduct that was done for an unlawful purpose which could possibly endanger the victim’s life. If the victim passes away in those circumstances, the offender may be charged with Murder.

Additionally, a person may still be charged with Murder even if they did not intend to hurt the victim or another person. If it was reasonably foreseeable that the victim would die as a result of the offender’s conduct, they may be charged with the offence. If an offender did not intend to kill or harm the victim, they may still be charged with Murder if they intended to act in the way which caused the victim’s death.

The mandatory penalty for this offence is life imprisonment (25 years’ imprisonment). All Murder charges are heard in the Supreme Court, due to their serious nature.

 

Are there any defences available to this charge?

Yes. The facts of your case will determine which defences will be available for you. The following defences may be available to you:

  • The death was not caused by the accused’s actions;
  • Self defence or defence of another;
  • Accident;
  • Insanity;
  • Automatism;
  • Diminished Responsibility;
  • Killing for Preservation in an Abusive Domestic Relationship;
  • Provocation (partial defence only).

 

What should I do if the police want to speak to me about a murder allegation or if I am charged with Murder?

You have the right to remain silent. You DO have to provide police with your name, date of birth and contact details. You should NOT answer any questions, make any statement or participate in any interview with the police. You should be polite to the officer but insist that you want to talk to your lawyer. You have the right to telephone a friend, relative or lawyer.

 

Call an Expert

If you are charged with a criminal offence, it is very important that you seek immediate legal advice. Our team at Brooke Winter Solicitors can give you over the phone advice. We have a solid reputation as expert Criminal Lawyers and can represent you in court.

Call us on 1300 066 669 if you have any questions. We can assist you no matter where you are located and can appear in every court.