What the law says
Sections 302 of the Criminal Code Queensland states:
- A person who unlawfully kills another under any of the following circumstances, that is to say-
- (a) if the offender intends to cause the death of the person killed or that of some other person or if the offender intends to do to the person killed or to some other person some grievous bodily harm;
- (b) if the death is caused by means of an act done in the prosecution of an unlawful purpose, which act is of such a nature as to be likely to endanger human life;
- (c) if the offender intends to do grievous bodily harm to some person for the purpose of facilitating the commission of a crime which is such that the offender may be arrested without warrant, or for the purpose of facilitating the flight of an offender who has committed or attempted to commit any such crime;
- (d) if death is caused by wilfully stopping the breath of any person for either of such purposes;
is guilty of murder.
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 person is dead;
- The accused killed him; that is he caused his death; and
- The accused did so intending to cause his death, or at least to cause him grievous bodily 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.
The Maximum penalty for the offence of Murder 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 to this offence include but are not limited to
- The person is not dead.
- The death was not caused by the actions of the accused
- Self defence or in defence of another
- Identification i.e. not the accused.
- Provocation (This is a partial defence only, which may reduce the charge to manslaughter.)
Criminal Law Article written by Bill Potts (a Queensland criminal defence lawyer who is experienced in Murder matters)