Murder and Manslaughter

At Old Bailey Solicitors we have extensive experience of defending murder cases both as instructed solicitors or as lead or junior advocates at Court. We can represent you from the beginning of the police investigation or we can represent you in court if you have already been chargedhe .

Murder falls within the broader definition of Homicide. Homicide covers the offences of:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Voluntary
  • Involuntary
  • Specific offences such as causing death by dangerous or careless driving, infanticide or corporate manslaughter.

Murder is when a person of sound mind:

  • Unlawfully kills
  • Any human being
  • Under the Queens Peace
  • With an intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm (Malice aforethought)

In order to be convicted of Murder the prosecution must show that when the defendant unlawfully killed the person that it was done with a malice aforethought. This is the element of the offence which distinguishes murder from manslaughter. Malice aforethought means that there must be a specific intention to either kill or cause grievous bodily harm. This element of the offence is referred to by lawyers as the mens rea or mental element of the offence. The prosecution do not need to prove any ill will towards the victim nor any premeditation.

In addition to “complete” defences such as alibi or self defence, in cases of murder there are three special “partial” defences which if successfully argued reduce the offence to voluntary manslaughter. Follow the link for more information on these special defences and Voluntary Manslaughter.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) must prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, that the accused has committed the murder. It is our role as defence lawyers to attack the prosecution’s assertions about the case. We will also present the defence carefully, robustly and fearlessly to the Court.

If a jury finds a defendant not guilty of murder, they can alternatively convict the defendant, if appropriate to do so in the circumstances, for manslaughter, grievous bodily harm with intent, attempted murder, encouraging or assisting suicide, child destruction, infanticide or wounding with intent.

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