What Is Homicide?
Homicide, the intentional and unjustified killing of another human being, is the most serious crime you can be charged with in Canada. Under the Canadian Criminal Code, it constitutes first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter. The central issue in distinguishing between these offences is whether the accused had the intention to kill or not. These violent criminal offences often result in some of the lengthiest periods of incarceration in our justice system.
A charge of first-degree murder requires that in addition to the Crown having to prove “the intention to kill”, it must also prove that the accused planned and deliberated the killing. It is also defined as a murder committed during the course of another crime, such as sexual assault or kidnapping. A conviction carries a mandatory life sentence without the eligibility of parole for 25 years.
Second-degree murders are intentional and unplanned. A conviction carries a mandatory life sentence, with eligibility for parole as early as 10 years into the sentence.
For the lesser offence of manslaughter, the Crown is not required to prove that the accused had the intent to kill; they need only prove that the death was the result of an unlawful act, such as negligence (for example, impaired driving), and that bodily harm was reasonable foreseeable. Manslaughter carries a mandatory life sentence. There is no mandatory minimum period of parole ineligibility for manslaughter, unless the offence involves the use of a firearm, in which case there is a mandatory minimum of four years in jail.
The punishment that follows from each offence depends on the circumstances and the severity.
What Should I Do If I'm Charged With Homicide?
Police will conduct very thorough investigations into all aspects of the file. They will gather statements from any eyewitnesses or people who are in any way connected to the accused’s whereabouts on the day of the alleged crime. The police will also encourage you to provide them with your story. But before you speak to the police, there are many things you need to know before participating in the police investigation. It is imperative that you know your rights so that you do not put yourself in a bad legal position. If you find yourself in a situation where police are questioning you about someone who has died, immediately contact the law office of Kantor LLP.
Hire Us At the Appeal Stage
Even if you had another lawyer help you with your murder trial, we can assist you if you decide to appeal to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court of Canada. Dale Wm. Fedorchuk QC has represented clients in every level of court, including Provincial Court, the Court of Queen's Bench, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.
*We accept Legal Aid cases.