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.

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