Criminal Law Complexities of Homicide Explained

Australian State legislation defines murder as the willful killing of another person either with intent or negligence. The legal definition of murder comes from Section 18 of the Crimes Act 1900. However, this Act covers the New South Wales region specifically stating that murder is punishable by life imprisonment. Common court laws and State Acts govern the conviction and sentencing of murderers.

If found guilty of a murder charge, every state can sentence the perpetrator to life imprisonment. The maximum number of years for life imprisonment is 25 years without parole. Queensland, South Australia, and the Northern Territory charge convicted murderers with mandatory life imprisonment sentences.

Types of Murder Charges

Murder charges are variably punished according to each state of Australia. Below is an extensive list of common murder charges with certain references to laws applicable in New South Wales according to the Crimes Act 1900.

Murder by Association

If one does not physically carry out the act of murder but assists the perpetrator in another way related to the crime such as evidence disposal, this charge applies. The sentencing of such a crime is mandatory life imprisonment. 

Conspiracy to Commit Murder

A plan to commit murder becomes thwarted by the discovery of such by Law Enforcement. This is referred to as conspiracy to murder and is punishable by imprisonment for up to 25 years. 

Attempted Murder

A futile attempt made to intentionally kill a person may result in imprisonment for up to 17 years.


This applies to the accused if the crime was committed without intent but out of negligence or diminished responsibility. Diminished responsibility refers to the perpetrator’s state of mind when the crime was committed such as an abnormal state of mind. If charged with manslaughter, the sentencing is less harsh as opposed to life imprisonment.

In New South Wales, manslaughter is categorized as either voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter refers to murder as a result of the defendant being extremely provoked or suffering from diminished responsibility. Involuntary manslaughter refers to the defendant acting in gross negligence resulting in the death of another person.

Red Zone Report Findings Revealed

Residential colleges in Australia have generally been built by the foundations of privileged and wealthy families through passing generations. As a result, the sense of entitlement has created a stoic superior school society where bad press gets brushed under the carpet with a few too many dollars.

This year, a number of independent journalists rallied together to conduct an investigation to dissect the cultures and behaviors of men who commit sexual crimes on university campuses in Australia. This is how the 200-page long Red Zone Report came about. The report was released to the public in February this year by the End Rape on Campus Australia (EROC) organization.

Rape and Degradation

It highlighted several areas; college rituals, sexual assault and harassment, excessive alcohol consumption, and examples of prejudices against women. College rituals included hazing and initiation practices for new students to be accepted into the cliques of the colleges.

The majority of these behaviors occurred during the first week of orientation at the beginning of the school year. It is commonly referred to as O Week for first-year university students. After this report was published, O Week now became known as ‘The Red Zone’ as sexual assault, hazing, and other ritualistic college traditions significantly increased during this one week.

A Superior Society

The report had its focus on residential colleges as these are the campuses which had the highest ratings of such behaviors. Residential colleges are well known for having swarms of cliquey students often described as superior and ignorant.

Students were interviewed, case studies were revealed, academic research was conducted, as well as cross-examining police reports of these sexual crimes. Research went as far back as the 1930s to see the timeline of where the demeaning and violent behavior originated from.

Red Zone Facts

Statistically speaking, after careful study of the report, it appears that 1 in 8 sexual assaults occurred nationwide on Australian university campuses. There are 43 universities in the country. The statistics add up very quickly and it’s not a pretty number either.

Rape survivors from several universities have spoken out against the crime stating that the colleges are quick to ignore the reports of rape and not investigate further into the matter to find the truth. Graphic images of hazing amongst others are shown in the report. It also detailed the degrading rituals which occurred such as ‘Fresher Grooming’.

One of the case studies presented in the report was that of Stuart Kelly. He only spent one night at St Paul’s college. The next day he begged his family to take him home but he never spoke of the events of the night before. Months later, Stuart Kelly took his own life.

Suspicions that hazing occurred on Stuart’s first night at the college have surfaced. Today, his parents and EROC are demanding a coronary inquest into the untimely death of Stuart. Let justice be served for Stuart and those who remain silenced by society.

Sexual Assault and Harassment on College Campuses

Sex crime cases on college campuses have rapidly increased. Among many factors resulting in this type of behavior, cultural factors are often overlooked.

Sexual assault is defined by an individual being forced against their will to participate in sexual acts. This is commonly referred to as rape on a non-consenting victim. Australian law constitutes this as a crime.

Facing the Facts

Recent studies indicated that sexual harassment and assault occurred either on public transport facilities, university grounds, or university residences. Although universities have sexual assault policies in place, victims feel the policies are not as stringent as they can and should be to protect others and reduce these sexual crimes.

Behaviors Resulting in Sexual Assault

Drink Spiking

Students living at university residences often spend weekends at parties on campus where alcohol and drugs are accessible. Sexual assault cases have shown that drink spiking has lead to victims being intoxicated and unconscious resulting in rape.


This type of behavior involves groups of individuals encouraging excessive alcohol consumption on other students followed by acts of humiliation and degradation performed by the group. This a commonly known as a university tradition which likely increases the risk of sexual harassment and assault.

Crimes of this nature impact greatly on victims lives. Their social lives, college studies, careers, and most importantly, their mental well-being, suffers. 

Infographic by: Infographiclist