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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 either intentionally or with reckless indifference to life. 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.

Victims Linkup

Victims LinkUp is an information and referral service for victims of crime.

For a free interpreting service, call 13 14 50.

Last updated
7 December 2015
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