The Criminal Code states that a “homicide” occurs when a person, directly or indirectly, by any means causes the death of a human being.
Homicide is only an offense where it meets the definition of “culpable homicide”, which includes the death of a human being caused by means of an unlawful act or by criminal negligence.
Culpable homicide is prosecuted as murder, manslaughter or infanticide under the Criminal Code.
Prosecution of Culpable Homicide as Murder
Section 229 of the Criminal Code sets out the circumstances under which culpable homicide is prosecuted as murder:
229. Culpable homicide is murder
(a) where the person who causes the death of a human being
(i) means to cause his death, or
(ii) means to cause him bodily harm that he knows is likely to cause his death, and is reckless whether death ensues or not;
(b) where a person, meaning to cause death to a human being or meaning to cause him bodily harm that he knows is likely to cause his death, and being reckless whether death ensues or not, by accident or mistake causes death to another human being, notwithstanding that he does not mean to cause death or bodily harm to that human being; or
(c) where a person, for an unlawful object, does anything that he knows or ought to know is likely to cause death, and thereby causes death to a human being notwithstanding that he desires to effect his object without causing death or bodily harm to any human being.
Murder is prosecuted as first-degree murder when it is planned and deliberate. The punishment for first-degree murder is a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for 25 years.
Any murder that does not constitute first-degree murder is second-degree murder. The punishment for second-degree murder is a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for 10 to 25 years.
Manslaughter is a culpable homicide that is neither murder nor infanticide. Typically, manslaughter occurs where an accused unintentionally causes the death of another person by means of an unlawful act.
An example would be a fight where one person pulls out a knife and stabs the other. The accused may have intended to inflict a superficial wound but accidentally slices an artery and unintentionally causes the other person’s death.
Contact N.J. Preovolos Law Corporation Today
If you believe you might be a suspect in a murder investigation, it is critical that you seek professional legal advice as soon as possible. Your future is at stake, and any misstep on your part may lead to years in jail and a life sentence.
In Canada, any time a person is killed by another human being, a homicide investigation follows. The resources allocated to homicide investigations are virtually limitless, and investigations can continue for years. Murder investigators are seasoned detectives who have specialized training in interviewing suspects, gathering evidence, and eliciting confessions.
As an accused person, you are no match for a homicide investigator. Should you find yourself in police custody, do not assume that a 5-minute legal consultation by telephone with a Legal Aid lawyer will properly prepare you for the police interrogation that will follow.
Be proactive. Call us for an extended, in-person consultation if you believe you are even remotely connected to an incident that caused the death of another person. Arrange for us to be on standby as your Vancouver criminal defense lawyers in case you are arrested. This might be the most valuable investment you ever make.