Homicide is the lawful or unlawful act of killing of another person. Both Murder and Manslaughter are types of homicide.
A charge of Murder requires that the accused intended to kill, or cause really serious injury to, the victim. The difference between Murder and Manslaughter is that the latter lacks this element of intent, or ‘moral culpability’.
In Victoria, Manslaughter is a common law offence, supplemented by three categories of statutory offences (click here for an explanation of common law and statutory offences). Those categories are:
- Unlawful and dangerous act
- Negligent manslaughter
- Manslaughter by omission
- Suicide pact
In all cases of manslaughter, the prosecution must prove that the accused committed an act that caused the victim’s death. Further, the act must have been committed consciously, voluntarily and deliberately. Finally, the act must have been unlawful. An act will not be unlawful where the accused had a defence.