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Murder, Manslaughter, And Other Forms Of Homicide

Murder Lawyers In Edmonton & Alberta

Homicide includes First and Second-degree murder, manslaughter, and criminal negligence causing death. These are among the most serious crimes individuals can be charged with in Canada. It is essential to have an experienced criminal lawyer to advocate for your interests.

Although the minimum sentence for murder is life imprisonment, a criminal lawyer can assist you by arguing to reduce the amount of time you are ineligible for parole. Our criminal lawyers have successfully represented and defended many individuals charged with these offences in Edmonton and the surrounding area.

It is important that you are fully informed by a lawyer — contact our criminal lawyers today.

What is homicide?

Homicide is defined as any act that directly or indirectly causes the death of another human being. Homicide is a broad term that includes murder, manslaughter, and infanticide, as well as homicides that are not criminally culpable (deserving blame).

Homicide is divided into two categories:

  1. Culpable homicides that are punishable under the Criminal Code
  2. Not criminally culpable homicides (e.g. a no-fault accident).

A culpable homicide includes murder, manslaughter, or infanticide and takes place when someone causes the death of another person by means of:

  • An unlawful act
  • Criminal negligence
  • Causing a person to cause their own death by threats, fear of violence, or deception
  • Scaring a child or sick person

What is murder?

Murder is defined as causing a person’s death while intending to cause death, or causing a person’s death while intending to cause bodily harm that the accused knows is likely to cause death — and being reckless as to whether death results.

First-Degree Murder

There are several circumstances under which murder is first-degree murder:

  • A murder that is planned and deliberate is first-degree murder.
  • A murder is first-degree murder when the victim is a police officer, prison guard, or other person employed for the preservation of the public peace who is acting in the course of their duties.
  • A murder is first-degree murder when death is caused by a person while they are committing one of several specified Criminal Code offences (e.g. including sexual assault, kidnapping and forcible confinement, hostage-taking, criminal harassment, intimidating a justice system participant or journalist, hijacking an aircraft, or other terrorism offences).
  • A murder is also first-degree murder when it is committed on behalf of a criminal organization or when the person was committing an indictable offence at the direction of or in association with a criminal organization.

All murder that is not first-degree murder is second-degree murder.

What is manslaughter?

Manslaughter is any culpable homicide that is not murder or infanticide.

If the Crown is unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused subjectively foresaw death resulting from his or her actions, the Crown will be unable to prove murder and will try to prove manslaughter instead.

Most manslaughter charges fall into two categories:

  1. The accused causes the death of a person by means of a criminal offence (e.g. an assault).
  2. The accused causes the death of a person by doing anything or omitting to do anything it is his or her duty to do (e.g. a parent failing to provide the necessaries of life for a child).

Murder can also be reduced to manslaughter if the person who committed the murder did so “in the heat of passion caused by sudden provocation” as defined in section 232(1) of the Criminal Code.

Penalties For Murder, Manslaughter, & Infanticide

Murder Conviction

First-degree murder carries with it a mandatory life sentence, with no chance of parole for 25 years. Second-degree murder also carries a mandatory life sentence, with no chance of parole for 10-25 years, depending on the facts of the case and on the offender.

Manslaughter Conviction

Manslaughter carries with it a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. However, a manslaughter offence where a firearm was used in the commission of the offence carries a minimum sentence of 4 years in prison.

There is no minimum sentence for any other type of manslaughter.

Infanticide Conviction

The maximum sentence for infanticide is 5 years in prison. There is no minimum sentence for the offence of infanticide.

Are you looking for a murder lawyer in Edmonton or the surrounding area?

If you have been charged with murder, manslaughter, or another form of homicide, it is extremely important that you speak to experienced legal counsel immediately. Contact our criminal lawyers for a consultation.

Even if you believe or suspect you may be charged, it is still extremely important that you do not hesitate to seek legal advice. Do not wait until it is too late to effectively exercise your right to legal counsel.

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What is infanticide?
  • Infanticide is when a woman causes the death of her newly born child through a wilful act or omission, if she is not fully recovered from the effects of giving birth, and as a result, her mind was disturbed at the time.

Can you get bail on a murder or manslaughter charge?
  • Although it can be difficult to get bail on a murder or manslaughter charge, it is possible. A bail hearing for murder or manslaughter charges will be heard by a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench. As the accused, you will be required to prove that your detention is not justified.

    You will likely require the assistance of an experienced criminal lawyer to create a bail plan that will be accepted by the Court. In these cases, a surety will often be required.