You are using a version of the website built for webcrawlers and people whose devices cannot use javascript.
Some functionality will not be available.
Warning: This page is an archive.
General administrative information and links are not current and should not be used.
Contents (1900 - 40)
Crimes Act 1900 No 40
Current version for 25 September 2017 to date (accessed 21 October 2017 at 14:04)
Part 3 Division 1
Division 1 Homicide
17   (Repealed)
17A   Date of death
(1)  The rule of law that it is conclusively presumed that an injury was not the cause of death of a person if the person died after the expiration of the period of a year and a day after the date on which the person received the injury is abrogated.
(2)  This section does not apply in respect of an injury received before the commencement of this section.
18   Murder and manslaughter defined
(1) 
(a)  Murder shall be taken to have been committed where the act of the accused, or thing by him or her omitted to be done, causing the death charged, was done or omitted with reckless indifference to human life, or with intent to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm upon some person, or done in an attempt to commit, or during or immediately after the commission, by the accused, or some accomplice with him or her, of a crime punishable by imprisonment for life or for 25 years.
(b)  Every other punishable homicide shall be taken to be manslaughter.
(2) 
(a)  No act or omission which was not malicious, or for which the accused had lawful cause or excuse, shall be within this section.
(b)  No punishment or forfeiture shall be incurred by any person who kills another by misfortune only.
19   (Repealed)
19A   Punishment for murder
(1)  A person who commits the crime of murder is liable to imprisonment for life.
(2)  A person sentenced to imprisonment for life for the crime of murder is to serve that sentence for the term of the person’s natural life.
(3)  Nothing in this section affects the operation of section 21 (1) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (which authorises the passing of a lesser sentence than imprisonment for life).
(4)  This section applies to murder committed before or after the commencement of this section.
(5)  However, this section does not apply where committal proceedings (or proceedings by way of ex officio indictment) for the murder were instituted against the convicted person before the commencement of this section. In such a case, section 19 as in force before that commencement continues to apply.
(6)  Nothing in this section affects the prerogative of mercy.
19B   Mandatory life sentences for murder of police officers
(1)  A court is to impose a sentence of imprisonment for life for the murder of a police officer if the murder was committed:
(a)  while the police officer was executing his or her duty, or
(b)  as a consequence of, or in retaliation for, actions undertaken by that or any other police officer in the execution of his or her duty,
and if the person convicted of the murder:
(c)  knew or ought reasonably to have known that the person killed was a police officer, and
(d)  intended to kill the police officer or was engaged in criminal activity that risked serious harm to police officers.
(2)  A person sentenced to imprisonment for life under this section is to serve the sentence for the term of the person’s natural life.
(3)  This section does not apply to a person convicted of murder:
(a)  if the person was under the age of 18 years at the time the murder was committed, or
(b)  if the person had a significant cognitive impairment at that time (not being a temporary self-induced impairment).
(4)  If this section requires a person to be sentenced to imprisonment for life, nothing in section 21 (or any other provision) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 or in any other Act or law authorises a court to impose a lesser or alternative sentence.
(5)  Nothing in this section affects the obligation of a court to impose a sentence of imprisonment for life on a person convicted of murder in accordance with section 61 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.
(6)  Nothing in this section affects the prerogative of mercy.
(7)  This section applies to offences committed after the commencement of this section.
20   Child murder—when child deemed born alive
On the trial of a person for the murder of a child, such child shall be held to have been born alive if it has breathed, and has been wholly born into the world whether it has had an independent circulation or not.
21   Child murder by mother—verdict of contributing to death etc
Whosoever, being a woman delivered of a child is indicted for its murder, shall, if the jury acquit her of the murder, and specially find that she has in any manner wilfully contributed to the death of such child, whether during delivery, or at or after its birth, or has wilfully caused any violence, the mark of which has been found on its body, be liable to imprisonment for ten years.
22   Trial for child murder—verdict of concealment of birth
Where, on the trial of a person for the murder or manslaughter of a child, the jury are not satisfied that the person is guilty thereof, but are satisfied that the person is guilty of an offence within section 85, they may acquit the person of the offence charged and find the person guilty of an offence under the said section, and the person shall be liable to punishment accordingly.
22A   Infanticide
(1)  Where a woman by any wilful act or omission causes the death of her child, being a child under the age of twelve months, but at the time of the act or omission the balance of her mind was disturbed by reason of her not having fully recovered from the effect of giving birth to the child or by reason of the effect of lactation consequent upon the birth of the child, then, notwithstanding that the circumstances were such that but for this section the offence would have amounted to murder, she shall be guilty of infanticide, and may for such offence be dealt with and punished as if she had been guilty of the offence of manslaughter of such child.
(2)  Where upon the trial of a woman for the murder of her child, being a child under the age of twelve months, the jury are of opinion that she by any wilful act or omission caused its death, but that at the time of the act or omission the balance of her mind was disturbed by reason of her not having fully recovered from the effect of giving birth to such child or by reason of the effect of lactation consequent upon the birth of the child, then the jury may, notwithstanding that the circumstances were such that but for the provisions of this section they might have returned a verdict of murder, return in lieu thereof a verdict of infanticide, and the woman may be dealt with and punished as if she had been guilty of the offence of manslaughter of the said child.
(3)  Nothing in this section shall affect the power of the jury upon an indictment for the murder of a child to return a verdict of manslaughter or a verdict of not guilty on the ground of insanity, or a verdict of concealment of birth.
23   Trial for murder—partial defence of extreme provocation
(1)  If, on the trial of a person for murder, it appears that the act causing death was in response to extreme provocation and, but for this section and the provocation, the jury would have found the accused guilty of murder, the jury is to acquit the accused of murder and find the accused guilty of manslaughter.
(2)  An act is done in response to extreme provocation if and only if:
(a)  the act of the accused that causes death was in response to conduct of the deceased towards or affecting the accused, and
(b)  the conduct of the deceased was a serious indictable offence, and
(c)  the conduct of the deceased caused the accused to lose self-control, and
(d)  the conduct of the deceased could have caused an ordinary person to lose self-control to the extent of intending to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm on the deceased.
(3)  Conduct of the deceased does not constitute extreme provocation if:
(a)  the conduct was only a non-violent sexual advance to the accused, or
(b)  the accused incited the conduct in order to provide an excuse to use violence against the deceased.
(4)  Conduct of the deceased may constitute extreme provocation even if the conduct did not occur immediately before the act causing death.
(5)  For the purpose of determining whether an act causing death was in response to extreme provocation, evidence of self-induced intoxication of the accused (within the meaning of Part 11A) cannot be taken into account.
(6)  For the purpose of determining whether an act causing death was in response to extreme provocation, provocation is not negatived merely because the act causing death was done with intent to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm.
(7)  If, on the trial of a person for murder, there is any evidence that the act causing death was in response to extreme provocation, the onus is on the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the act causing death was not in response to extreme provocation.
(8)  This section does not exclude or limit any defence to a charge of murder.
(9)  The substitution of this section by the Crimes Amendment (Provocation) Act 2014 does not apply to the trial of a person for murder that was allegedly committed before the commencement of that Act.
(10)  In this section:
act includes an omission to act.
23A   Substantial impairment by abnormality of mind
(1)  A person who would otherwise be guilty of murder is not to be convicted of murder if:
(a)  at the time of the acts or omissions causing the death concerned, the person’s capacity to understand events, or to judge whether the person’s actions were right or wrong, or to control himself or herself, was substantially impaired by an abnormality of mind arising from an underlying condition, and
(b)  the impairment was so substantial as to warrant liability for murder being reduced to manslaughter.
(2)  For the purposes of subsection (1) (b), evidence of an opinion that an impairment was so substantial as to warrant liability for murder being reduced to manslaughter is not admissible.
(3)  If a person was intoxicated at the time of the acts or omissions causing the death concerned, and the intoxication was self-induced intoxication (within the meaning of section 428A), the effects of that self-induced intoxication are to be disregarded for the purpose of determining whether the person is not liable to be convicted of murder by virtue of this section.
(4)  The onus is on the person accused to prove that he or she is not liable to be convicted of murder by virtue of this section.
(5)  A person who but for this section would be liable, whether as principal or accessory, to be convicted of murder is to be convicted of manslaughter instead.
(6)  The fact that a person is not liable to be convicted of murder in respect of a death by virtue of this section does not affect the question of whether any other person is liable to be convicted of murder in respect of that death.
(7)  If, on the trial of a person for murder, the person contends:
(a)  that the person is entitled to be acquitted on the ground that the person was mentally ill at the time of the acts or omissions causing the death concerned, or
(b)  that the person is not liable to be convicted of murder by virtue of this section,
evidence may be offered by the prosecution tending to prove the other of those contentions, and the Court may give directions as to the stage of the proceedings at which that evidence may be offered.
(8)  In this section:
underlying condition means a pre-existing mental or physiological condition, other than a condition of a transitory kind.
24   Manslaughter—punishment
Whosoever commits the crime of manslaughter shall be liable to imprisonment for 25 years:
Provided that, in any case, if the Judge is of the opinion that, having regard to all the circumstances, a nominal punishment would be sufficient, the Judge may discharge the jury from giving any verdict, and such discharge shall operate as an acquittal.
25   (Repealed)
25A   Assault causing death
(1)  A person is guilty of an offence under this subsection if:
(a)  the person assaults another person by intentionally hitting the other person with any part of the person’s body or with an object held by the person, and
(b)  the assault is not authorised or excused by law, and
(c)  the assault causes the death of the other person.
Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 20 years.
(2)  A person who is of or above the age of 18 years is guilty of an offence under this subsection if the person commits an offence under subsection (1) when the person is intoxicated.
Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 25 years.
(3)  For the purposes of this section, an assault causes the death of a person whether the person is killed as a result of the injuries received directly from the assault or from hitting the ground or an object as a consequence of the assault.
(4)  In proceedings for an offence under subsection (1) or (2), it is not necessary to prove that the death was reasonably foreseeable.
(5)  It is a defence in proceedings for an offence under subsection (2):
(a)  if the intoxication of the accused was not self-induced (within the meaning of Part 11A), or
(b)  if the accused had a significant cognitive impairment at the time the offence was alleged to have been committed (not being a temporary self-induced impairment).
(6)  In proceedings for an offence under subsection (2):
(a)  evidence may be given of the presence and concentration of any alcohol, drug or other substance in the accused’s breath, blood or urine at the time of the alleged offence as determined by an analysis carried out in accordance with Division 4 of Part 10 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002, and
(b)  the accused is conclusively presumed to be intoxicated by alcohol if the prosecution proves in accordance with an analysis carried out in accordance with that Division that there was present in the accused’s breath or blood a concentration of 0.15 grams or more of alcohol in 210 litres of breath or 100 millilitres of blood.
(7)  If on the trial of a person for murder or manslaughter the jury is not satisfied that the offence is proven but is satisfied that the person has committed an offence under subsection (1) or (2), the jury may acquit the person of murder or manslaughter and find the person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) or (2). The person is liable to punishment accordingly.
(8)  If on the trial of a person for an offence under subsection (2) the jury is not satisfied that the offence is proven but is satisfied that the person has committed an offence under subsection (1), the jury may acquit the person of the offence under subsection (2) and find the person guilty of an offence under subsection (1). The person is liable to punishment accordingly.
(9)  Section 18 does not apply to an offence under subsection (1) or (2).
(10)  In this section, cognitive impairment includes an intellectual disability, a developmental disorder (including an autistic spectrum disorder), a neurological disorder, dementia, a mental illness or a brain injury.
25B   Assault causing death when intoxicated—mandatory minimum sentence
(1)  A court is required to impose a sentence of imprisonment of not less than 8 years on a person guilty of an offence under section 25A (2). Any non-parole period for the sentence is also required to be not less than 8 years.
(2)  If this section requires a person to be sentenced to a minimum period of imprisonment, nothing in section 21 (or any other provision) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 or in any other Act or law authorises a court to impose a lesser or no sentence (or to impose a lesser non-parole period).
(3)  Nothing in this section (apart from subsection (2)) affects the provisions of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 or any other Act or law relating to the sentencing of offenders.
(4)  Nothing in this section affects the prerogative of mercy.