Being charged with a homicide offence is one of the most significant legal challenges a person may face. As a result, an indictment for a homicide, referred to commonly as “murder”, will result in the most severe criminal penalties possible within the Canadian Criminal Code. If you or someone you know has been accused of murder, you will need the most effective legal defence available.
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What Constitutes a Homicide Charge?
According to the Criminal Code a “homicide” has taken place when an individual(s), directly (e.g. use of a weapon with the intention to kill) or indirectly (e.g. assaulting a bus driver, who then runs someone over), by any means causes the death of a human being.
In order to be classified as on offence, homicide must meet the definition of being “culpable”, this may include a homicide caused by criminal negligence or a violation of the law.
Murder Charges as a Result of Culpable Homicide
Prosecution of culpable homicide is established by Section 229 of the Criminal Code:
- 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.
First and Second Degree Murder
The Crown will pursue first degree murder charges when the alleged murder is planned out and deliberate. A conviction for First degree murder requires a minimum sentence of life imprisonment with no eligibility for federal parole for 25 years. In addition, there is no guarantee that you will be granted parole after you have been incarcerated for 25 years.
Second degree murder is any murder that does not constitute first degree murder. A conviction for Second degree murder also mandates a life imprisonment sentence; however parole eligibility is reduced to ten years.
Police Resources and Homicide Investigations
The resources assigned to homicide investigations are practically endless, and criminal investigations can proceed for decades. Homicide Detectives are experienced officers who have special preparation in questioning suspects, collecting evidence and convincing witnesses to support the particular direction of an investigation. As a charged individual, you should not face a homicide investigator without effective legal representation.
If the police have contacted you as a person of interest in a murder investigation, it is crucial that you obtain competent legal advice immediately. Retaining a skilled lawyer in a murder defense is likely the most important investment in your future that you can make: one significant error in a murder trial can make the difference between freedom and life in jail. Ouellette Hoare Claxton has the courtroom experience you need.