What is Murder?

Section 18 of the Crimes Act 1900(NSW) states that murder “shall be taken to have been committed where the act of the accused, or thing by him or her omitted to be done, causing the death charged, was done or omitted with reckless indifference to human life, or with intent to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm upon some person, or done in an attempt to commit, or during or immediately after the commission, by the accused, or some accomplice with him or her, of a crime punishable by imprisonment for life or for 25 years.”

What are the Elements of Offence?

Physical Act/Actus Reus: An act or omission of the accused which caused the death.

Mental Element/Mens Rea: Intent to kill someone OR Intent to inflict grievous bodily harm upon some person OR reckless indifference to human life.

Note: For an omission by the accused to be considered a murder, the accused must have owed a duty of care to the deceased. A person who deliberately puts another in danger, comes under a duty to remove the danger.

What must the Prosecution Prove?

  1. The accused acted or omitted to act, causing the death of the deceased.
  2. There was an intention to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm or there was reckless indifference to human life.

Onus of Proof

If you have been charged with the criminal offence of fraud, you are innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The jury will review all available evidence and circumstances of the case and make a determination that you have been guilty of an offence. This concept was discussed by their Honour of Dixon CJ in Plomp v The Queen [1963] HCA 44; (1963) 110 CLR 234 at 242 where he said:

“All the circumstances of the case must be weighed in judging whether there is evidence upon which a jury may reasonably be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt of the commission of the crime charged”.

What is Maximum Penalty for Fraud?

Section 19A of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) sets out the punishment for murder. It states that the crime is punishable with imprisonment of life, which is the person’s natural life. However, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, the punishment may vary.

Why are the Defences Available?

Self Defence- Self defence is defence to murder if you have killed a person while defending yourself from physical and threatened attacks.

Provocation – Section 23(2) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) provides that the defence of provocation is only available in cases where an ordinary person, faced with the same provocation which the accused faced, could have lost self-control so as to form an intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm.

Automatism – The defence of automatism can be raised if your offence committed was involuntarily.

Mental illness – For a successful defence of mental illness you must provide that you were suffering from mental illness and were not responsible for your actions.

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