Homicide is the taking of another person’s life, either intentionally or unintentionally. It is one of the most serious criminal offences you can be charged with by the Crown. Under no circumstance should you ever attempt to represent yourself as the laws surrounding homicide is complex and detailed with numerous variations and subcategories as listed in the Criminal Code of Canada.

Types of Homicides

There is not a specific criminal offence called homicide, rather there are several different types of offences the Crown uses to charge someone, including:

  • Manslaughter: The taking of one’s life without any premeditation to the fact and in cases where the Crown determines the act was not considered murder of the second degree.
  • Murder: Murder offences are either first degree or second degree. To be charged with first-degree murder the Crown must establish the defendant fully intended to kill the victim and had preplanned the act. To be charged with second degree murder, the Crown has to prove the defendant was fully aware their actions would result in the death of the victim.
  • Attempted Murder: An attempt to unsuccessfully take another’s life where the defendant had full intentions of carrying out the act, whether it was unplanned or previously planned, and the victim does not die as the result of the defendant’s actions.
  • Accessory to Murder or Manslaughter: Being an accessory, either during or after the commission of a murder or manslaughter is brought against someone, who has knowledge another intends to carry out such an act, and assists them in such a manner as to hamper the efforts of law enforcement and the Crown to carry out justice.

Keep in mind these are only basic definitions and there are other variations. In addition, the Crown has the right to file other criminal charges against a person along with homicide charges if the attempted murder or actual death occurred during the commission of another crime, such as assault, robbery, theft, sexual assault, weapons and firearms offences, drug offences, drinking and driving offences, and domestic assault. This is why it is best to consult with an experienced Toronto criminal defence lawyer.

The penalty for being found guilty of either first or second degree murder is life imprisonment. With other homicide offences the court uses specific guidelines to determine the appropriate penalty and in most cases, all include varying lengths of imprisonment.

There are numerous defences that can be used with homicide criminal offences based upon the circumstances surrounding the case, evidence the Crown has, and whether your rights were violated in any manner. If you or a loved one is being charged with a homicide offence, contact Toronto criminal defence lawyer, Jeff Hershberg, at 416-428-7360 now for a free consultation to discuss your case.