Definition of Murder Changed in Queensland
On 1 May 2019 the State Government passed the Criminal Code and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 which makes amendments to the definition of murder in Queensland.
The legislation is the result of the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council’s report into the sentencing statistics and issues surrounding child homicide cases in Queensland (Sentencing for Criminal Offences Arising from the Death of a Child: Final Report). The report found that offenders sentenced for adult manslaughter received jail sentences of 8.5 years on average, compared with 6.8 years for child manslaughter.
The Bill, which amends the Criminal Code 1899, Evidence Act 1977 and the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 amends the definition of murder in section 302(1) to include circumstances where death is caused by an act done, or omission made, with reckless indifference to human life. This essentially broadens the definition of murder. Similar provisions exists in other Australian jurisdictions and the amendments recognise that ‘intention’ and ‘foresight of probable consequences’ are morally equivalent, meaning the definition of murder in Queensland now renders a person who foresees the probability of death just as blameworthy and a person who intends to kill.
The Bill also increases the maximum penalty in section 324 of the Criminal Code which makes it an offence to fail to supply necessaries from 3 years imprisonment to 7 years imprisonment, it also changes the classification of that offence from a misdemeanour to crime.
There were also amendments made to the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 which enable the imposition of harsher penalties and potential serious violent offender declarations those found guilty of manslaughter of a child under 12 years.
Homicide offences are complex matters which not only require clear and competent legal advice but also legal representatives who are compassionate, understanding and available to you at every step of the way. If you are charged with a homicide offence in Queensland, please do not hesitate to contact Potts Lawyers on either (07) 3221 4999 or our emergency CRIMELINE on 0488 999 980.