Murder Lawyer Winnipeg. Manslaughter Lawyer Winnipeg, MB. Manslaughter & Murder Lawyer Winnipeg

Manslaughter & Murder Lawyer Winnipeg

We at Brett Gladstone Law Corp have the education, experience, and determination to defend our clients against criminal allegations of murder and manslaughter. If you are convicted of either of these two crimes, you are looking at a life sentence in a federal prison.

That's why you need a strong legal team that has your best interests in mind. Our team at Brett Gladstone Law Corp. has the skill, knowledge, and resources to meet your needs when you are going through this chaotic time. We will put you in contact with resources that can help you and your family through the legal processes, including access to therapists, counsellors, victim services, and many other helpful information sources to help you feel like you are getting the legal representation you deserve.

The Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter

The primary difference between murder and manslaughter lies in the intent behind the cause of death. In order for an individual to be convicted of murder, the Crown prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant INTENDED to kill the victim. On the other hand, manslaughter (the lesser of two charges) is when the accused did not intend to cause the death of the victim. It has less severe penalties but typically results in jail time if proven guilty.

One of the most common defences in cases such as this is the fact that it is arguable and potentially doubtful that the accused had intentionally tried to murder the victim or was just intending to hurt them (whether that be in a barroom brawl or a dispute gone wrong). It all lies with the Crown prosecutor to prove that murder was the intent, and they must prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. If you choose us as your defence attorneys, our goal will be to expose areas and conditions of your case that leave room for doubt regarding your guilt.

But that is not the only defence that can be used for murder and manslaughter charges. There is also the self-defence charge, and other justifications that could result in acquittal or lesser charges. Contact us for an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Winnipeg to defend you.

Murder and Manslaughter According to the Criminal Code of Canada

First-degree Murder

In Section 231 (1), it is stated that any intentional killing of another person that is planned and deliberate is considered first-degree murder.
Other instances which can be deemed first-degree murder are:

  • Murder taking place as a result of an exchange or theft of money or valuables
  • Where the victim is a government agent (police, jailer, or prison worker)
  • If the murder is related to any sexual assault offence
  • Is associated with a criminal organization
  • If the murder is connected to a terrorist group
  • Forcible confinement of the victim
  • Criminal harassment

Second-degree Murder

If the murder does not meet the requirements for first-degree murder, which is planned and deliberate, it will be seen in court as second-degree murder. All murders that do not fall within the categories of first-degree murder are considered second-degree. The minimum sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison with no parole for 10 years, but some penalties can be as long as life imprisonment with no option for parole for 25 years.

Manslaughter Lawyer Winnipeg

Murder can often be reduced to manslaughter, where the defendant is said to commit the offence "in the heat of passion caused by provocation" in a situation without enough time given for the accused's passions to cool off.

Manslaughter has two broader categories:

  • Unlawful Act- the defendant committed a crime that resulted in the death of another person. Shooting a gun and accidentally hitting someone.
  • Criminal Negligence- is the demonstration of reckless disregard for others' lives through a dangerous act or a failure to act.

There would be no minimum sentence for manslaughter unless firearms were involved, where the minimum penalty is four years of imprisonment. It is often extremely difficult to prove a person's thoughts when committing homicide or death. Due to this, many people convicted of murder ask for a guilty plea for a manslaughter conviction instead. There are no set rules as to what penalty you will receive for manslaughter, but it often amounts to less prison time and may be recommended by your legal team. Our team has top-notch manslaughter lawyer's in Winnipeg to protect the client under rules.

The Cause of the Death and Blameworthiness

If someone is considered responsible for culpable homicide, there must be a causal relationship between the harm committed and the victim's death. This is where the law isn't as clear-cut. For instance, there are times when the death of the victim could have been prevented despite original injuries due to the physical violence or negligence of the person being accused of murder. The findings of the investigation into the death of the victim may clear the victim's guilt and have the charges lessened.

For this to occur, doubt must be created as to whether the actions of the accused actually caused the victim’s death. For example:

  • How long did it take the victim to die?
  • Did the victim die from complications from medical treatment?
  • Did events occur that resulted in poor or no medical treatment?
  • Did the defendant's use of violence worsen a previously existing medical condition?

Also, in murder and manslaughter cases, there is the blameworthiness test. Here, your team of legal professionals will do our best to downgrade the charge. Blameworthiness requires a substantial and integral cause of death.
For example, if the accused was attacked during a robbery and died from complications not immediately due to the defendant's actions, a first-degree murder charge can be downgraded to second-degree or manslaughter, depending on the severity of the case.

Strategic Defence for Manslaughter and Murder

There are several different defences when it comes to criminal charges of murder and manslaughter. Recently the Criminal Code of Canada's self-defence section was revised to create a list of factors that must be considered for these charges. The first and most important is that the defendant, at the time of the act, believed on reasonable grounds that they were facing imminent peril, leaving no reasonable legal alternatives open. Basically, the accused was forced to act in their defence. Section 34 of the Criminal Code of Canada states that by defending themselves or another from force or threat, they reasonably defended themselves against the violence used against them.

Here is a list of the factors according to the Criminal Code of Canada, s. 34(2):

  • The nature of the force of threat used
  • How imminent was the force used
  • Whether other means were available to respond to the potential use of force
  • The person's role in the incident
  • Whether either the accused or victim used or threatened to use a weapon
  • The size, age, gender, and physical capabilities of those involved
  • The nature and history of the relationship between the two parties
  • Whether there was any prior use or threat of force between parties
  • The history, interactions, and communications between the parties before the incident
  • The nature and proportionality of the person's response to the threat of force
  • Whether the act was committed in response to a use or threat of force, the person knew was lawful or not

Guiding You Through Potential Sentences and Parole

Anyone who has been convicted of either first- or second-degree murder must be sentenced to imprisonment for life.
Adults convicted of first-degree murder will not be eligible for parole until they have served at least 25 years of their life sentence.
For adults convicted of second-degree murder, they must serve between 10-25 years. However, there is the "faint-hope clause" to consider. This clause permits those with a life sentence for murder to apply for a sentence reduction in order to apply for parole after 15 years have been served.

Manslaughter charges, though they may seem a lighter sentence, can still be deemed an indictable offence and be punishable with a life sentence. If a firearm is involved, the defendant must receive a punishment of no less than four years. The base sentence for involuntary manslaughter is between 10-16 months in prison and can be increased if the crime was due to an act of reckless conduct. Considering that every legal case is different, with many differing penalties involved, it is hard to speculate as to what the punishment will be.

The Next Steps

If you are facing charges related to murder (either first- or second-degree), or are facing manslaughter charges, then your best bet is to find a (criminal) manslaughter & murder lawyer in Winnipeg with a background in dealing with these particular crimes. At Brett Gladstone Law Corp., we are a simple call away, and we can set up a consultation to help determine the next steps for you in the legal process. 


We will present you with resources for dealing with relationships throughout these difficult times and show you what your best options are.
Contact us today for compassionate support throughout the many difficulties you will face. We are here for you anytime you need legal representation and consultation.

FAQs

What is the difference between murder and manslaughter?

Manslaughter is when a person does something that results in the death of another. The defendant must have had no intention to cause death or foreseen death was possible. Murder (aka homicide) occurs when, either directly or indirectly, a person causes the death of another human being.

What are the possible defences for murder/manslaughter charges?

There are five possible defences that can be used by the defendant facing murder or manslaughter charges.

  • Factual Innocence – This is when the Crown prosecutor is unable to prove the offence beyond a reasonable doubt and must acquit the defendant.
  • Self-defence – For this defence to work, there must be threats or actions made by the complainant to believe that force was necessary by the accused. The defendant must also have been defending themselves or someone else, and the act occurred within reasonable circumstances.
  • Non-mental Disorder Automatism – In this instance, the defence argues that the crime was committed while unconscious or through an involuntary behaviour. Examples include sleep disorders, head injuries, or unintentional consumption of an illegal substance.
  • Mental Disorder Automatism – For this form of automatism, the defendant is found guilty but is not criminally responsible for the act as they lack mental intention.
  • Provocation – Provocation can be argued when the defendant was provoked or severely intoxicated. However, this is unlikely to reduce a murder sentence to manslaughter based on the outcome of provocation.

What are the potential penalties for a murder/manslaughter conviction?

All those convicted of murder, both first- or second-degree, must receive a life sentence in federal prison. They will not be eligible for parole until they have served at least 25 years. However, a clause allows those convicted of murder to apply for a reduction in their sentence after serving 15 years in jail. For those convicted of manslaughter, that too is an indictable offence, and the defendant can also end up imprisoned for life. However, most cases end up serving between 4-15 years in prison.

How can I reduce the severity of a murder/manslaughter charge?

You could have the charges reduced from first-degree murder to second-degree if the murder was not planned and deliberate. And you can have a second-degree murder charge dropped to manslaughter if it can be proven that the offence occurred in the heat of passion caused by provocation. But having charges reduced does not occur often, and you should go by the advice and options your legal team presents you.

Can I be charged with murder or manslaughter for accidentally killing someone?

Yes. This falls under non-culpable homicide, where the act was committed without intending to kill the victim. The punishment for this is a maximum sentence of life in prison.

How do I defend myself against a murder or manslaughter charge?

Your first defence is a lawyer well-versed in criminal law, specifically murder and manslaughter charges. By remaining silent when questioned by the police and following your lawyer’s advice, they may be able to provide a defence that will protect you and your interests.

What is the difference between first-degree and second-degree murder?

First-degree murder is when the murder was thought out and deliberate and was not the result of impulsiveness. Another circumstance that is an automatic first-degree murder charge is when a police officer or correctional officer is killed. Second-degree murder is any homicide when the prosecution proves that the defendant intended to kill or cause bodily harm that was likely to result in death.

What is the impact of a murder or manslaughter conviction on my life?

If you are convicted of murder or manslaughter, your life will never be the same. Not only will the stigma follow you forever, and your relationships will suffer, but you are also looking at a penalty of life imprisonment.

Can I be charged with murder or manslaughter if I was defending myself?

Yes. When it comes to defending yourself, another person, or your property, you have the right to use reasonable force to protect yourself. However, you must perceive that you are under attack for defensive reasons, and the reasonable force used can differ depending on the situation.

Need some legal assistance? Let’s have a chat!

Call or send us a message and one of or (criminal) murder & manslaughter lawyers will get back to you ASAP.

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