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Murder & manslaughter solicitors
If you are facing murder or manslaughter charges then you should seek expert legal advice immediately before disclosing any information to the police or entering a plea.
At Minton Morrill, our solicitors have acted for a significant number of clients facing murder or manslaughter charges in Leeds, Bradford, Hull, West Yorkshire, East Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and the wider North of England, as well as across the country.
Murder is the most serious criminal offence and carries an automatic life sentence, although the judge will usually set a minimum tariff. In the most exceptional cases, a convicted murderer may be given a whole life tariff, meaning they will never be released from prison.
The law considers that murder has been committed if it can be proved that the perpetrator was of sound mind (sane) and intended to kill or cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) to the victim. For attempted murder, there must be an intention to kill, not merely cause GBH.
The main defence against a murder charge is self-defence, although there are further defences, known as partial defences, which can be put forward in order to reduce the charge to voluntary manslaughter. These are diminished responsibility, loss of control and killing in pursuance of a suicide pact.
If someone dies from injuries caused by the perpetrator at a later date then a murder charge can still be brought. This previously had to happen within a year and a day of the original incident taking place. This law has now been abolished, although the Attorney General has to give permission for a case to proceed if the death occurred more than three years after the injuries were sustained.
Manslaughter is a less serious offence than murder and is generally divided into two categories:
- Voluntary manslaughter, where there was an intention to kill but where a partial defence applies, such as diminished responsibility, loss of control and killing in pursuance of a suicide pact.
- Involuntary manslaughter, where someone’s conduct was so grossly negligent that it led to someone’s death (this includes medical negligence) or they committed an unlawful act which a reasonable person would realise would create a risk of personal harm regardless of whether the defendant realised this at the time.
Sentences for manslaughter vary depending on the nature of the offence but can carry a maximum life sentence. The judge has discretion over the sentence imposed. It is not uncommon for a murder charge to be brought in the first instance, with the judge then giving the jury the option of deciding whether the defendant is guilty of murder or manslaughter.
Joint enterprise murder
If two or more people are involved in an incident which results in someone’s death then all parties can be liable for a murder or manslaughter charge, even if they did not personally inflict the fatal injury.
This offence only applies to women who cause the death of their own child, who must be under the age of 12 months, if the mother’s mind was disturbed due to her not having fully recovered from the effects of childbirth.
If you find yourself facing any of these charges then having the right legal representation at the earliest opportunity can make a significant difference to the outcome of your case. At Minton Morrill, we can provide the advice and representation you need and will always strive for the best possible outcome regardless of the circumstances.
To find out how our specialist murder and manslaughter solicitors in Leeds, Yorkshire and the North of England can help you, please contact us.
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