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Every homicide is a tragedy in the community and the source of unimaginable grief for the family and loved ones of the deceased. These tragic situations can be caused by accident, negligence, recklessness, or by the individual’s intentional actions. The law seeks to distinguish between these causes by examining the intent of the person who committed the offence. In order to determine whether or not a person died during the commission of an offence the authorities will scrutinize the willful actions of the person responsible.
It is defined as “Whosoever causes death by doing an act with the intention of causing death or with the intention of causing such bodily injury as it is likely to cause death or with the knowledge that he is likely by such act to cause death , commits the offence of Culpable Homicide .
A person commits culpable homicide when he causes the death of a human being.
Often, a charge of murder will be reduced to culpable homicide on further scrutiny of the facts. There are a defences available to a charge of culpable homicide. We can advise on the best course of action. Contact us at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss your case.
The penalties for the 3 respective ways of finding an offender guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder are summarised in the table below:
|Acts that constitute culpable homicide not amounting to murder||Penalties|
|Offender does an act with the intention to cause death to the victim||Life imprisonment and caning; orUp to 20 years’ imprisonment and either a fine or caning|
|Offender does an act with the intention to cause bodily injury as is likely to cause death to the victim||Life imprisonment and caning; orUp to 20 years’ imprisonment and either a fine or caning|
|Offender does an act with the knowledge that one is likely to cause death to the victim (without either of the two intentions mentioned above)||Up to 15 years’ imprisonment, a fine, caning, or any combination of these punishments|
Murder is defined within the Criminal Code of Canada (section 231(1) as either first degree or second degree murder. Any intentional killing of another that is planned and deliberate will constitute first degree murder.
Murder, as defined by the criminal code,
Culpable homicide is murder
(a) where the person who causes the death of a human being
(i) Means to cause his death.
(ii) Means to cause him bodily harm that he knows is likely to cause his death, and is reckless whether death ensues or not.
(b) Where a person, meaning to cause death to a human being or meaning to cause him bodily harm that he knows is likely to cause his death, and being reckless whether death ensues or not, by accident or mistake causes death to another human being, notwithstanding that he does not mean to cause death or bodily harm to that human being.
(c) Where a person, for an unlawful object, does anything that he knows or ought to know is likely to cause death, and thereby causes death to a human being, notwithstanding that he desires to effect his object without causing death or bodily harm to any human being.
The first-degree murder is the most serious charge for murder, as it is believed that the defendant has planned and carried out a murder with the intent of harm and malice. Now, when it comes to the first-degree murder, it is important to point out that there are three types.
Premeditated murder: Premeditated murder is the crime of wrongfully and intentionally causing the death of another human being after rationally considering the timing or method of doing so, in order to either increase the likelihood of success, or to evade detection or apprehension.
Felony murder: Felony murder is a legal rule that expands the definition of murder. It applies when someone commits a certain kind of felony and someone else dies in the course of it. It doesn’t matter whether the death was intentional or accidental the defendant is liable for it.
Murder by specified means: The killer uses an explosive device such as a bomb. In Canada, for example, the statute defining first degree murder specifies several ways in which the crime can occur. In part, it states, “All murder which is perpetrated by means of a destructive device or explosive or by any other kind of willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing is murder of the first degree.”
According to the Criminal Code, whoever causes the death of a human being, without intent to effect the death of any person, while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense other than criminal sexual conduct in the first or second degree with force or violence or a drive-by shooting” is guilty of murder in the second degree. Second Degree murder is all the other kinds of Murder that is not covered by First Degree Murder.
The elements of Second-Degree Murder are:
Third degree murder can be defined as homicide committed with the intention of causing bodily harm, but not necessarily death. It can be a killing that results from indifference or negligence or recklessness. Statutes defining third degree murder vary considerably from province to province.
Murder in the third degree is when someone kills someone else, but it wasn’t either planned or committed while the person was carrying out another felony crime. Third-degree murder is more serious than either type of manslaughter – manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter – and the sentence for third-degree murder will be more harsh than that given for a manslaughter charge.
Anyone facing charges this serious ought to contact a lawyer immediately, even if they are only under suspicion. Even if you are completely innocent, the need to understand your rights is critical. Many wrongful convictions have happened over the years in Canadian law and most of the proven ones come from murder cases. Having the benefit of speaking to a criminal lawyer familiar with murder charges may very well save your life.
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