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Unlawful Killing

What the law says

Sections 303 of the Criminal Code Queensland states:

A person who unlawfully kills another under such circumstances as not to constitute murder is guilty of manslaughter

What the police must prove

In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.

The accused killed the deceased and that he did so unlawfully. Unlawful simply means not authorised, justified or excused by law. It is not an element of the offence that the accused intended to kill the deceased or to do the deceased any particular harm.

It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence. Click here to learn more about identification evidence

Maximum penalty

The Maximum penalty for the offence of Unlawful Killing/Manslaughter is life imprisonment.

Which court will hear the matter

This matter is indictable which means it is dealt with in the Supreme Court.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

  1. Self Defence
  2. Defence of another person
  3. Insanity
  4. Identification i.e. not the accused
  5. The killing was not unlawful
  6. An ordinary person in the position of the accused would not have foreseen the death of the deceased as a possible outcome of his act.
  7. The person is not dead i.e. death cannot be proved

Criminal Law Article written by Bill Potts (a Queensland criminal defence lawyer who is experienced in Unlawful Killing/Manslaughter matters)


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