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Crimes Act 1900

The Crimes Act 1900 is a New South Wales statute that codifies the common law crimes for the state of New South Wales in Australia. Along with the Crimes Act 1914 and the Federal Criminal Code Act 1995 (both federal), these two pieces of legislation form the majority of criminal law for New South Wales.

As it is the major criminal law statute for New South Wales, it is an extensive legal document of 582 different sections,[1] which define an extensive list of offences under New South Wales law.

Murder law

For a person to be guilty of murder, the prosecution must prove the actus reus and mens rea for murder under NSW law. The actus reus (the act) of murder is evident - A causes B's death.

The most culpable mens rea for murder is intent to kill. If A intended to kill B, whether it was premeditated or on the spur of the moment, A is guilty of murder.

Under NSW law, the next most culpable state is intent to cause grievous bodily harm - so if A inflicts grievous bodily harm on B and B dies, A is guilty of B's murder.

The next level of culpability is 'reckless indifference to human life' in which A saw that his actions carried a probability of B's death (for example, driving a truck into a pub as in R v Crabbe).

The final level is constructive murder (also termed felony murder) in which A kills B (even if unintentionally - the only question that can be raised is whether the act was voluntary or not - see Ryan) during, or immediately after, the commission of a crime, punishable by 25 years imprisonment.

Manslaughter law

Manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 25 years imprisonment.

See also


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