Murder, attempted murder and manslaughter

These are considered to be the most serious types of crimes against a person.

Anyone who commits murder, attempted murder or manslaughter can be sentenced to life in prison. However, courts can decide on a shorter prison term.


Murder—also called homicide—is the wilful killing of a person with intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm. However, it does not include dangerous driving causing death—the unlawful killing of a person as a result of dangerous or negligent driving without intent to kill. This is a different offence and has a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

If a person has a previous murder conviction or has been found guilty of multiple murders the minimum sentence is 30 years in prison.

If a person knowingly murders a police officer the minimum sentence is 25 years in prison.

Murder is not common in Queensland and crime statistics show it is not increasing.

Associated crimes

As well as murder, a person can be charged with being an accessory after the fact. The maximum penalty is life in prison. Conspiracy to murder has a maximum penalty of 14 years and threats to murder (written in a document) 7 years .

Attempted murder

Attempted murder is the attempt to unlawfully kill another person by any means, act or omission.


Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a person without intent to kill, usually as a result of a careless, reckless, or negligent act.

Manslaughter also includes the intentional killing of a person under extreme provocation or when a person’s state of mind impairs their capacity to understand or to control their actions—this is sometimes called diminished responsibility.