Murder and Manslaughter

Homicide offences are the most serious offences in Queensland and often carry extremely severe consequences for people found guilty.

Robertson O’Gorman is experienced in providing legal advice regarding homicide offences. Call us today on 3034 0000.

Murder, or homicide, is the wilful killing of a person either intentionally or with reckless indifference to life. However, it does not include dangerous driving causing death—the unlawful killing of a person as a result of dangerous or negligent driving without intent to kill. This is a different offence and has a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

If a person has a previous murder conviction or has been found guilty of multiple murders the minimum sentence is 30 years in prison.

If a person knowingly murders a police officer the minimum sentence is 25 years in prison.


Attempting to murder is an offence under section 306. This inlcudes an attempt to unlawfully kill another person by any means, act or omission.

Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a person without intent to kill, usually as a result of a careless, reckless, or negligent act.

Manslaughter also includes the intentional killing of a person under extreme provocation or when a person’s state of mind impairs their capacity to  understand or to control their actions. This is sometimes called diminished responsibility.

The maximum penalty for the offence of manslaughter is life imprisonment.

The offence of aiding suicide is created by section 311 of the Criminal Code.

A person is guilty of this offence if they have:

(a)  procured another kill himself or herself; or

(b)  counsels another to kill himself or herself and thereby induces the other person to do so; or

(c)  aids another in killing himself or herself.

The maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

This offence was brought in by the recent Newman Government. You can read a recent blog about the offence here.

The offence is created under section 314A of the Criminal Code.

The offence is constituted by an unlawful strike to the head or neck which directly or indirectly causes death. Striking is defined as directly applying force by punching or kicking, or by otherwise hitting using any part of the body, with or without the use of a dangerous or offensive weapon or instrument.

The defence of accident under section 23(1)(b) cannot be raised in reply to this charge. Neither can the defence of prevention of repetition of insult under section 270. These restrictions often raise many difficulties in arguing the case of a defendant. For example, the fall of the victim may have actually caused the death. This may have been completely unforeseeable and extremely unlucky. Regardless, the accused may eventually be found guilty of this most serious offence for which he might otherwise have a defence.

In some circumstances where the striking occurred during a socially acceptable function or activity or where it was reasonable in the circumstance, the accused may raise a defence.

The maximum penalty is life imprisonment. Furthermore, if the court sentences a person to a term of imprisonment, the court must order that the imprisonment is actually served in a correctional facility for either 80% of that term or 15 years, whichever is the lesser.