Murder and Manslaughter are very serious criminal offences and, regardless of the outcome, they have the potential to severely impact your life, family and future.

Murder & Manslaughter Lawyers in NSW

Our Criminal Law Team can assist you with matters related to murder and manslaughter, we have the experience and expertise necessary to ensure you receive the best possible outcome.

We’ve been defending the people of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Central Coast and the Hunter region since 1969 and have helped our clients to achieve the best possible outcomes in all Criminal Law matters.

We are used to dealing with the Police and know all the ‘ins and outs’ of the Courts and Justice system.

If you have been charged with murder or manslaughter, contact our Criminal Law Team today to book a teleconference or appointment. We’ll fight vigorously to protect your freedom and rights.

Murder and Manslaughter Offences

If you have committed or have been if it alleged that you have been involved in either a murder or manslaughter, you should obtain advice from an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible.

We understand the severity of these offences and the emotional turmoil that these charges put our clients and their families through.

Our goal is to try and relieve some of the pressure and stress, whilst providing you with the best possible defence, to ensure you get the best possible outcome.

If you have been charged with a Murder or Manslaughter offence, we will:

  • Provide you with expert advice relating to the severity of the offence, your rights, likely penalties, potential defences, and what your next steps should be;
  • Guide you through your interactions with the Police;
  • Manage the matter as it proceeds through the judicial Court system; and
  • Fight to ensure you achieve the best possible outcome!

What is the difference between murder and manslaughter?

Fundamentally, the distinction between the two criminal offences depends on the state of mind of the person responsible for the crime. In legal terms, this ‘state of mind’ is referred to as the ‘mens rea’.


Murder is a planned and premeditated action resulting in the death of a person. It is also often defined as the unlawful killing of another person with ‘malice aforethought’. I.e. there was an obvious intent to do another person harm (inflict bodily injury) and/or take a person’s life.

Murder offences are dealt with in the Supreme Court. The maximum penalty which can be imposed in the Supreme Court is life imprisonment.


Manslaughter is an unintentional, often accidental and/or random, action resulting in the death of a person. There are two types of manslaughter:

  • Voluntary Manslaughter – is an intentional action performed in the ‘heat of the moment’ or ‘heat of passion’ as a result of situational circumstances. I.e. there was absolutely no planning involved, it just happened because the person performing the action temporarily lost control of their emotions, usually stemming from some kind of provocation. For example, one of the more common voluntary manslaughter cases involves one person accidentally discovering their partner has been cheating and, in the heat of the moment, kills their partner or their partner’s lover.
  • Involuntary Manslaughter – is an unintentional and completely accidental action that results in the death of another person. There was no intent and no planning involved. The most common involuntary manslaughter cases involve motor vehicle accidents.

Manslaughter offences are dealt with in the Supreme Court. The maximum penalty which can be imposed in the Supreme Court is twenty five years imprisonment. However, for first time offenders, the likely penalty imposed is imprisonment for a period of six or seven years.

What is the offence ‘Conspiracy to Murder’ and what are the penalties?

A ‘Conspiracy to Murder’ offence occurs when two or more people (one of whom being the offender) are found to have been conspiring to have another person murdered. ‘Conspiring’ in this sense means soliciting, encouraging, persuading or proposing any person to commit murder.

This offence also includes endeavouring to solicit, encourage, persuade or propose any person to commit murder. For example, if the offender is found to have told a friend that they were going to hire someone to murder their partner, but never actually contacted anyone to commit murder, this would still be classified as a Conspiracy to Murder.

The police must prove that the object of the conspiracy was murder. An offender can be charged irrespective of whether or not the intended target was actually murdered.

Conspiracy to Murder offences are dealt with in the Supreme Court. The maximum penalty which can be imposed in the Supreme Court is twenty five years imprisonment. However, for first time offenders, the likely penalty imposed is imprisonment for a period of between six and nine years.

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