Negligent Manslaughter

In Victoria, Negligent Manslaughter is a common law offence. It is committed by a person who owed someone else a duty of care. The person must have then acted carelessly which breached their duty of care and, as a result, the person caused another person’s death.

Have you been accused of Negligent Manslaughter? You will need to receive sound legal advice immediately.

Police Interview
Negligent Manslaughter is a serious indictable offence that requires careful attention. If the police have spoken to you about an offence of this kind, you should expect to be asked to participate in an interview. It is important you understand the purpose of a police interview before you agree to attend. In a matter involving an allegation of Negligent Manslaughter, Police will have approached all preliminary investigations with the aim of building a strong case against you. Specialised police officers will have been responsible for the investigation, and also conducting the interview with you. It is important you expect police to approach the interview in an informed and considered way, with the aim of obtaining admissions or comments by you, that may be used in evidence against you. Police are trained to ask questions in a way to make it appear as though you are lying even where you are telling the truth.

It is important you obtain appropriate legal advice before agreeing to attend a police interview. Our lawyers can provide you with legal advice about the purpose and procedure of police interviews, and advise you about your options, and best strategy so you do not say something which can harm your defence.

Our lawyers also attend police interviews. In our experience, our client’s experience a level of comfort and support in being represented by a lawyer at an interview, and the presence of a lawyer may also ensure a greater standard of police accountability.

If you or someone you know has been approached by Police about an allegation of Negligent Manslaughter we recommend you contact our office to arrange a conference with one of our lawyers as soon as possible.

Pleading Not Guilty
We are experts in representing people charged with Negligent Manslaughter. We successfully defend people charged with this offence, by taking the time to carefully analyse the police investigation, and build a case involving all possible avenues of defence. Our lawyers will ensure you are informed and prepared to deal with the court process each step of the way and work hard to achieve a favourable outcome for you.

Our lawyers are dedicated criminal defence lawyers who are experienced in preparing successful defence strategies.

Pleading Guilty
We frequently appear in superior courts in Melbourne and interstate. We time take to understand your perspective and instructions, and gather all relevant material and reports to ensure the sentencing court is fully informed about your life and personal circumstances. There is important material that must be gathered before the plea hearing which will help the Judge arrive at a just penalty such as:

  • Psychological reports
  • Character references
  • Arrange for appropriate supports
Which court will the case be heard in?
This offence is heard in the Supreme Court.

What is the legal definition of Negligent Manslaughter?
The Prosecution must prove that you owed the victim a duty of care. You breached that duty by criminal negligence. The act which breached the duty of care was committed consciously and voluntarily. The breach of your duty caused the victim’s death.

Examples of Negligent Manslaughter
  • A father knows his child cannot swim. The father takes his child to a lake. And while he sees the child drowning, he does not try to save the child, even though he can swim himself.
  • A Carer at an old age home fails to do a check on a client who is in critical care and needs supervision. Instead the Carer watches a film. The client dies as a result of not being attended to.
Defences
  • No duty of care was owed.
  • The duty of care was not breached.
  • The breach was not conscious or voluntary.
  • The breach did not cause the other person’s death.
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • What did you actually do?
  • Is there something you were meant to do and you did not do that thing?
  • Can they prove your conduct caused another person’s death?
Maximum penalty
The maximum penalty for this charge is Level 3, 20 years imprisonment.

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
If you are found guilty of this offence you will get a prison sentence for some years.

Other Important Resources