Legal Bridge can offer a service that connects people to firms who will represent them in the event that they are accused of such a crime. These firms have vast experience and specialist expertise in all the aspects in dealing with murder cases from the police station, upon initial arrest, through to Crown Court proceedings.
These lawyer firms have a wealth of experience to defend all murder and manslaughter cases, as instructed solicitors or lead/junior advocates at court.
This sector of the law is governed by the much wider definition of homicide, which can be complicated and involves a number of different factors influencing both the court proceedings and the eventual outcome.
Your lawyers will have a duty to work with you from the very beginning of a police investigation through to the court process to ensure they can properly represent you at every stage. The level of resources available to the Police and Crown Prosecution Services in cases such as this is vast and therefore it is vital that if you, a family member or friend find themselves being investigated or prosecuted for such an offence, that you have a dedicated team of lawyers at your disposal who have the in depth experience to challenge the evidence and confidently defend the case.
Manslaughter, Murder & The Law
Homicide can be sectioned into 3 main areas, with the most serious being murder. The other 2 are manslaughter, split between voluntary and involuntary, and ultimately death by infanticide, familial homicide, corporate manslaughter or offences where it is said an individual’s driving may have resulted in a death.
By definition, the law approaches murder as when any human being, who is proved to be of ‘sound mind’, unlawfully and with intention, kills another. Due to the seriousness of the crime, all cases are heard by the Crown Court.
The most important element is the intention element of the definition that defines murder from manslaughter, and this is cited as malice aforethought or attributed to by solicitors as the mens rea, literally meaning the mental element of the offence.
The Court will consider a number of other factors in determining the category of the offence and it’s seriousness, e.g. whether any weapons have been used and/or if there are prior convictions, particularly if these are numerous and/or have been reported to be of a violent nature. By their nature, murders are complicated and investigations can be detailed and highly forensic. All evidence used in a case can be highly complex and extensive reliance will frequently be placed on the opinions of “experts”.
At the time of a Trial, it is up to the Jury to conclude whether beyond all reasonable doubt, a murder has been committed. If this is decided for the case, mandatory life imprisonment is the sentence, and the judge will set a minimum amount of time that an individual must serve in prison before they can be released. This is referred to as the Tariff and does not necessarily mean the amount of time that will be served, it is the minimum, which will be subject to various conditions e.g. the individual’s behaviour in Prison.
Equally complex, is manslaughter which has a number of elements and can be committed in a variety of ways e.g. manslaughter may be proven when someone has died but that:
Sometimes referred to as a sudden loss of control. when an act was provoked immediately before the act that caused the death took place.
Death of the victim was not caused intently but recklessly.
Complex psychiatric evidence is needed in the case of an individual who has suffered diminished responsibility due to a mental illness.
If it can be proven that an act of self-defence had taken place or acting in defence of someone else or preventing a different crime from occurring e.g. burglary. These are a few of the other factors that can be taken into consideration.
Currently there is no minimum or maximum sentence for manslaughter, the decision will largely depend on the individual case and surrounding factors, age and previous convictions are always taken into account.
Accused of Murder or Manslaughter?
Murder and manslaughter charges are both extremely serious charges, with the consequences being potentially life-changing.
Legal advice should always be sought out as soon as possible, however it is also imperative to work alongside your solicitor to provide all the facts of the case. Thus resulting in having the best chance to achieve a more favourable outcome, based on all of the evidence provided for your case.
For further information on the laws and sentencing of murder and manslaughter, or to discuss an individual case, please call 0203 355 7444 or email [email protected]