Have you been charged with the criminal law offence of manslaughter? It's important to seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Learn more about this offence below.

S.303 Manslaughter (Criminal Code Queensland)

(1) A person who unlawfully kills another under such circumstances as not to constitute murder is guilty of “manslaughter”.

In Queensland, a person who unlawfully kills another person under such circumstances which do not constitute murder may be guilty of Manslaughter. A person may be charged with this offence if they do not satisfy the elements of Murder, and if they killed another person by means which was not authorised, justified or excused by law.

A person may be charged with Manslaughter if they unlawfully killed another person, but did not intend to kill or harm that person. This can occur where a person deliberately assaults another and causes their death when they did not intend for that person to die. A common example is when a parent assaults their child in a fit of frustration or rage, and that child dies as a result of the injuries it suffered in the assault.

Additionally, a person who satisfies the criteria for Murder, but successfully argues a partial defence (i.e. the victim initiated an attack on the offender, causing the offender to react and kill the victim) may have their charge down-graded from Murder to Manslaughter.

The maximum penalty for Manslaughter is life imprisonment. This sentence is not mandatory, and a person will be sentenced according to the seriousness of the offence and the circumstances under which it occurred. Offenders who intended to kill the victim or who displayed criminal negligence which resulted in the victim’s death may receive a more serious sentence than those who did not intend to kill the victim. Due to the seriousness of the offence, Manslaughter offences are dealt with in the Supreme Court.

Are there any defences available to this charge?

Yes. The following defences may be available to you:

  • Self-defence or defence of another person;
  • Insanity;
  • The killing was not unlawful;
  • An ordinary person in the position of the accused would not have foreseen the death of the victim as a possible outcome of his act;

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

You have the right to remain silent. You DO have to provide the 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.

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