What is the Legal Defence of Defensive Homicide?
Defensive homicide was a legal defence to murder committed in Victoria between 23 November 2005 and 1 November 2014.
The defence was created under section 9AD of the Crimes (Homicide) Act 2005 (Vic). However, it has since been repealed after the introduction of the Crimes Amendment (Abolition of Defensive Homicide) Act 2014 (Vic).
Defensive homicide was an alternative charge to murder in circumstances where self-defence was not made out. Under section 9AD, a person was guilty of defensive homicide if:
As such, if during the murder trial of the accused, the jury could not be satisfied that the accused held a reasonable belief that it was necessary to kill in self-defence, the jury could:
Defensive homicide was considered a lesser offence than murder. It carried a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment, whilst murder carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Originally, the defence was legislatively created to aid the legal rights of women who were being domestically abused. However, a 2010 review by the Department of Justice found that the defence was predominantly being relied upon by men who killed other men in violent confrontations. This created concerns as to the law being misused in relation to murder. Due to the law’s failure to serve it’s intended purpose it was repealed. Defensive homicide is no longer available as an offence or an alternative verdict to murder.
Obtaining Legal Advice
If you have been charged or are under investigation for allegedly committing murder between 2005 and 2014, please contact our team at Sher Criminal Lawyers. We will help you achieve the best possible outcome by applying our extensive legal experience and expertise. One of our criminal law specialists will assess whether defensive homicide or any other defence is relevant to your case before planning a unique and calculated legal strategy. We are available 24/7 and offer free consultations by way of Zoom, Facetime or in person at our Melbourne and Moorabbin offices.