Have you been charged with Manslaughter as a result of surviving a suicide pact?
The prosecution is required to prove the elements of Murder. It is then for the defendant to prove that the death occurred in the course of a suicide pact.
As this is technically an alternative verdict, it is crucial that you understand the options available to you. Consult a specialist criminal lawyer before proceeding any further.
Please read below for more information in relation to this charge.
Section 6B of the Crimes Act 1958.
The prosecution must prove all the elements of Murder. The defence must then prove that the act or omission that caused the death occurred in pursuance of a suicide pact.
The maximum penalty
Level 6 imprisonment being a maximum of 5 years.
Where will my case be heard?
Manslaughter cases can only be heard in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Questions to consider
Do you have a defence? If you are pleading guilty, what can you do to minimise your sentence?
What to do next?
See an experienced criminal lawyer urgently. Preparation in relation to any matter is critical. Ensure that you do not delay in obtaining legal advice.
If you have been charged under Section 6B of the Crimes Act 1958 make an appointment to see one of our experienced lawyers today.
6B Survivor of suicide pact who kills deceased party is guilty of manslaughter
(1) Where upon the trial of a person for the murder of another person the jury are satisfied that the accused caused or was a party to causing the death of that other person by a wilful act or omission but are satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the act was done or the omission made in pursuance of a suicide pact then the jury shall, notwithstanding that the circumstances were such that but for the provisions of this section they might have returned a verdict of murder, return a verdict of manslaughter in lieu thereof.
(a) Despite section 5, a person convicted of manslaughter under subsection (1) is only liable to level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).
(2) Any person who—
(a) incites any other person to commit suicide and that other person commits or attempts to commit suicide in consequence thereof; or
(b) aids or abets any other person in the commission of suicide or in an attempt to commit suicide—
shall be guilty of an indictable offence and liable to level 6 imprisonment (5 years maximum); but if the jury are satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the acts constituting the offence were done pursuant to a suicide pact the jury shall return a verdict of guilty of the indictable offence of being a party to a suicide pact and the convicted person shall be liable to level 6 imprisonment (5 years maximum).
(3) The fact that by virtue of this section any person who in pursuance of a suicide pact has killed another person has not been or is not liable to be convicted of murder shall not affect the question of whether the homicide amounted to murder in the case of a third person who is a party to the homicide and is not a party to the suicide pact.
(4) For the purposes of this section suicide pact means an agreement between two or more persons having for its object the death of all of them whether or not each is to take his own life; but nothing done by a person who enters into a suicide pact shall be treated as done by him in pursuance of the pact unless it is done while he has the settled intention of dying in pursuance of the pact.