What is manslaughter?

Section 18 (1)(b) of the Crimes Act 1900 defines manslaughter as a punishable homicide that is not punished as murder.

Manslaughter is either voluntary or involuntary.

Voluntary manslaughter is an alternative verdict that applies in certain circumstances where a jury would have found the accused guilty of murder, but for the availability of an alternative verdict.

An alternative verdict to murder may be found if the defences of: excessive self-defence, extreme provocation, or substantial impairment by abnormality of the mind, succeed.

Involuntary manslaughter occurs when a person unintentionally kills another person through voluntary acts. Involuntary manslaughter may be committed through:

  • an unlawful and dangerous act; or
  • through criminal negligence

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