Homicide or in simple words, murder, is one of the most violent and heinous crimes. Any person who has committed this kind of crime (intentionally) must be sentenced to the ultimate penalty, death.
However, the decision always lies on the jury, and that’s how it should be. There are some specific procedures that have to be gone through while dealing with homicides.
Murder, the ultimate offence, can be defined as an act done by the accused, which has caused death to the victim. It is also noteworthy that the offence has to be done intentionally. If somehow it is proved that the victim got murdered accidentally or unintentionally by the accused, then it will not be considered as an offence
Any act will be considered as a viable cause of death if it turns out to be significant and substantial. If any other cause is available related to the homicide, then also it will be considered as the prime cause and accused will be judged accordingly. The only way to get free from being accused is to prove somehow that the other cause is mainly responsible for the wound that caused death to the victim.
One surprising fact is, if a child is born alive and later on it dies because of some internal injuries in the womb, then this fact will be considered as an offence and the perpetrator can be accused of homicide.
Now, a person is considered to be dead when all the functionalities of his/her brain as well as other body parts, blood circulation, and so on have stopped irreversibly. Considering this fact, if any person turns off the life support system, then he/she will not be accused of murder. And also noteworthy here is that time of the occurrence of death is no longer needed as an element of death unless the case is complex enough.
According to Mens Rea, a person should have the intention to kill or harm heavily. If a person acts in such a way that kills a man and while acting, the person had full intention to kill, then it will be considered as a homicida e.
Again, if there are a group of events that will ultimately lead someone to death, and at any stage, the accused had the intention to murder, then also it will be considered a homicide. The accused person will have the required intent to kill a person even if he believes that he might not be successful.
If a person does not intend to kill somebody but acts intentionally in such a way that could lead anyone to death, then the Mens Rea will be established. However, it rests upon the jury to decide about the guilt. There are also facts like felony murder where a person was basically intended to perform some kind of serious crime, and there he/she had to act in such a way (such as shot anyone for defence) which ultimately led to a death.
Manslaughter can be established by situations like criminal negligence, unlawful and dangerous acts, excessive self-defense, omission etc. All of these facts have certain criteria to be fulfilled to establish the manslaughter. There are certain laws and acts also which defines these criteria.
Generally, the penalty for murder is life imprisonment. However if the judge wants, He can lessen the sentence, which means He can reduce the period for imprisonment or anything else.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.