Homicide Offences

If you have been charged with homicide offences, SAHARAN FAMILY & CRIMINAL LAWYERS can help you.

We are Criminal Lawyers in Perth who can help you if you have been charged with homicide offences. Homicide offences are:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Assault causing death

–          Dangerous Driving Causing Death


The most serious homicide offence in Western Australia is wilful murder. Under s 278 of the Code wilful murder requires that the offender intended to cause the death of the deceased or some other person.

After Wilful Murder, Murder and Manslaughter are among the most serious criminal offences that can be committed in WA.


Under Section 280, where a person unlawfully kills a person in circumstances that do not amount to murder, they are guilty of manslaughter. The maximum penalty for a charge of manslaughter is life imprisonment. For an accused to be found guilty of manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt, the death of the victim must have been reasonably foreseeable.

If manslaughter is committed in the course of an aggravated home burglary, minimum penalties apply as follows:

  • For an adult offender, imprisonment for 15 years;
  • For a child, imprisonment or detention for three years.

The most commonly raised defences to murder are self-defence and provocation.

Unlawful Assault Causing Death

Under Section 281, a person commits a crime if they unlawfully assault a person and the person dies as a result of the assault. The maximum penalty for this is imprisonment for 20 years. This offence is different to manslaughter in that a person can be found guilty of it even if the death of the victim was not reasonably foreseeable.

If unlawful assault causing death is committed during an aggravated home burglary, the court must impose a term of imprisonment no less than:

  • For an adult, 15 years;
  • For a juvenile, three years.

Careless Driving Causing Death

Section 59BA of the Road Traffic Act states that a person is guilty of a crime if they cause the death of another person by driving without due care and attention. The maximum penalty for this offence is three years imprisonment or a fine of 720 penalty units.

Dangerous Driving Causing Death

Under Section 59 of the Road Traffic Act 1974, a person is guilty of a crime if they cause the death of a person by causing an accident whilst under the influence or by driving in a dangerous manner. The maximum penalty is imprisonment for 20 years.

Police Interview

You can expect to be interviewed by Police about an allegation of this kind. Police will undertake extensive investigations and preparation before conducting the interview, and approach the interview process with a clear goal in mind. The purpose of the interview will be to obtain admissions or contradictory explanations that will be used as evidence against you in future court proceedings. The interview will likely be conducted by experienced Detectives and conducted over one or more occasions.

It is crucial that you obtain appropriate legal advice before participating in an interview. An experienced criminal defence lawyer can advise you about the purpose and procedure of the interview, and ensure you are provided with the opportunity to discuss the matter with a lawyer in a confidential setting before speaking to the Police. Please contact our office as soon as possible if you are concerned about being approached to attend an interview about an allegation of Murder.

It is important you understand your legal rights. Lawyers are permitted to attend police interviews.

Pleading Not Guilty

We can retain a senior counsel on your behalf from the first day so that you have the best chance of successfully defending charges of this kind. We will assist you in building a strong defence. We will analyse the investigation conducted by the Police, and all of the evidence obtained, to ensure all possible avenues of defence are open to you. We will prioritise you and your case and work hard to defend you.
Pleading Guilty

We understand the gravity of a plea of guilty to Murder, and will thoroughly prepare to achieve the most favourable sentencing outcome possible. We will take time to understand your perspective and instructions and gather all relevant material and reports to ensure the sentencing court is fully informed about your life and personal circumstances. We care about our clients and work hard to achieve the best possible sentencing outcomes for pleas of guilty.

Which court will the case be heard in?

A case of murder is heard in the Supreme Court and almost always results in a term of imprisonment if the accused is found guilty.

Some of the questions in cases like this are:

  • What did you do or not do?
  • Were you suffering mental impairment at the time (a psychotic episode?)?
  • Did someone else commit the act which caused the death?
  • Were you and others committing a violent crime when the person died?
  • Did you intentionally cause the death of the other person?
  • Did you know it was probable that they would die?

The issues that we help you look at are;

  • Can the prosecution prove the death was your fault?
  • Is there a chance the Police have misunderstood what happened?
  • What actually happened? 
  • Was someone else at fault?
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