Murder – s 18 Crimes Act (NSW)

Charged with murder is a significant burden on yourself and loved one’s around you. Our criminal defence lawyers are amongst the top defence team in Australia, having achieved exceptional results in securing not guilty verdicts, and getting these charges dropped early, for over 2 decades.

Your Options in Court

You will be not guilty to murder if police are unable to prove each of the following elements of your charge in court, beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The victim died; and
  • Your actions or omission caused that death; and
  • You either:
    • Intended to kill, or do grievous bodily harm, and you foresaw the probability that death would occur; or
    • Your actions or omission causing death was done in an attempt to, during or immediately after, committing an offence that the law gives a maximum punishment of 25 years imprisonment or more for. i.e. Robbery with wounding offence or certain sexual assault offences.

Your charge will be dismissed, and you will be found not guilty, if police are unable to prove each of the above elements of the offence of murder.

Defences to this charge

You will be Not Guilty if:

  • Self defence.
  • The death was not substantially caused by your actions or omission.
  • The death was not a reasonable foreseeable consequence of what you did or said.
  • The death was not a natural consequence of your conduct.
  • The death was caused by something else that intervened as being the sole cause.
  • You didn’t foresee the probability of death occurring to the victim from your conduct.
  • You had no intention of killing or causing any serious or permanent disfiguring of a person.
  • Mental illness defence: Where you were suffering a mental illness causing you to have no control of your actions, or be unaware of the nature and quality of your actions, or be unaware of the wrongness of your actions.
  • Intoxication: Where you involuntarily consumed drugs or alcohol, which caused an absence of intention to kill or cause serious or permanent disfiguring.
  • Automatism: Where an external factor such as medication caused you to involuntarily act in the way you did. i.e. Epileptic fit, sleep walking, or dissociative state of loosing consciousness but acting involuntarily, spasm, reflex etc.
  • Provocation (if established, it can reduce murder to manslaughter).
  • Duress or Necessity: Where you acted in this way to avoid serious harm or as a result of threat or coercion.

Your murder charge will be dismissed in court if any of the above defences apply to you.

Speak to our team of criminal defence lawyers who specialise in murder charges. They hold an exceptional track record in getting charges dropped or downgraded early, and securing not guilty verdicts in court for over 20 years.

Speak to our team of senior lawyers before pleading guilty to murder. If you decide to plead guilty, see the following extremely useful tips and ways on how to best prepare to achieve the best possible outcome.

25% Discount on punishment

Pleading guilty at the earliest possible time in your case will allow the Judge to give you a 25% discount on punishment. This results in a lighter punishment.

The later the plea of guilty is entered, the less that discount gets. For that reason its critical to get early advice from an experienced expert.

Good character references

Gathering letters expressing your good character, remorse, insight, and embarrassment for the Judge to read about you can allow the Judge to give further leniency in punishment.

These letters can come from family, friends, work, charity and letter of apology from you.  An experienced lawyer can guide you in this process.

Negotiate to drop charges

Your murder charge can potentially get dropped or downgraded to a less serious offence, which can occur by pointing out all the holes in the police evidence, and strategically negotiate with police.

Our senior lawyers specialise in achieving this, with over 20 years experience.

Negotiate facts

The set of police facts is a document initially drafted by police, expressing what you plead guilty to in detail for the Judge to read. This can often sound one sided, making you look worse, resulting in a heavier punishment.

To put a stop to this, our senior lawyers often negotiate with police to change those facts to something much more favourable to you. This often results in a much more lenient outcome. Best chances at success is by having a thorough knowledge of the evidence to point out all the issues in it.

Psychologist reports

Getting a court report from a highly respected and experienced psychiatrist or psychologist for the Judge to read can significantly improve your court result, giving you a lighter outcome.

To maximise your chances of this occurring, the report should comment on your mental state, remorse, insight, and shame. Our senior lawyers will hand select the best expert for your case.

Maximum penalty

The maximum punishment for murder is imprisonment for your natural life. However, the law sets a standard period of 20 years prison if your case fits the middle rage of seriousness for these cases.

The maximum punishment is only given to the most serious offenders, and is rarely given.

Types of penalties

The Judge can give you any one of the following types of punishment, however, the offence of murder will result in full time prison, but the duration of this will depend on the above mentioned points:

  1. Section 10 Dismissal
  2. Conditional Release Order
  3. Fine
  4. Community Correction Order
  5. Intensive Correction Order
  6. Full Time Imprisonment

Call our team of highly experienced criminal defence lawyers to discuss your murder charge. Our senior lawyers have over 20 years experience in successfully achieving outstanding results. Your case will be tirelessly work on around the clock to put you in the best possible position.