What are the penalties for murder?

In Victoria, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction for murder:

  • The accused caused the victim’s death;
  • The accused intended to kill the victim or cause the victim really serious injury; and
  • The accused acted voluntarily and without lawful justification or excuse.

How does one infer intention in murder?

The intention to kill or cause really serious injury can be inferred from the circumstances surrounding the crime, such as the use of a deadly weapon, the nature and severity of the victim’s injuries, and the accused’s words or conduct before or after the killing.

What is the sentence for murder?

In Victoria, the maximum penalty for murder is life imprisonment. The court has the discretion to set a non-parole period, which is the minimum amount of time the offender must serve before being eligible for release on parole. The non-parole period can range from 20 to 30 years, depending on the circumstances of the offence.

Additionally, if the murder was committed in certain aggravating circumstances, such as while in the commission of another serious offence, or against a police officer, emergency worker, or child, then the court may impose a higher non-parole period or even a mandatory minimum non-parole period of 30 years.

It is important to note that these penalties are the maximum and the court will consider a range of factors, including the offender’s culpability, the existence of mitigating factors elicited through personal circumstances, when determining an appropriate sentence.