Tougher Laws For Child Killers
It is has been reported a police officer fatally punched his baby son.
His ex-wife, Debbra Chambers has called for tougher sentences on baby killing. The baby, Kye, was 10-week-old and died June 2014, the first time he was left alone with his father.
He claimed he tried to perform CPR on the baby boy, but to no effect.
“I found him on the ground, blue around the face and laying on the ground on the tiles,” Ms Chambers said.
For 18 months Randall denied having anything to do with Kye’s death but was charged with the boy’s murder in January 2016.
Days before his trial was due to start, Randall pleaded guilty to manslaughter, admitting he punched Kye as he lay in his rocker.
WHAT IS MANSLAUGHTER?
Criminal charges involving violent crimes such as Murder or Manslaughter are homicides which are prosecuted under Section 18 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)
Because of the nature of the crimes and possible heavy penalties, allegations involving murder or manslaughter require robust criminal defences.
There are two forms of manslaughter: voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.
The definitions when it comes to Murder/Manslaughter are as follows:
Is killing with the intent for murder but where a partial defence applies –namely loss of control, diminished responsibility or killing pursuant to a suicide pact
Gross negligence manslaughter
Is conduct that was “grossly negligent” given the risk of death, and did kill
Unlawful and dangerous act manslaughter
Is conduct taking the form of an unlawful act involving a danger of some harm, that resulted in death).
The first definition above is known as “voluntary manslaughter” – and the second and third definitions are known as “involuntary manslaughter”.
There are also other types of manslaughter, such as corporate manslaughter.
The maximum penalty (which are often reserved to the worse offending) carries a maximum penalty of 25 years.
The offence of manslaughter was consider in R v Lavender (2005) 222 CLR 67 where it was held that malice is not an element of the offence. If the victim consents to the act which causes death, the accused may still be convicted of manslaughter on the basis of gross negligence, although consent is a relevant consideration: See r v Cato  1 All ER 260.
To read more about the law in relation to manslaughter, please visit our dedicated page by clicking here.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MANSLAUGHTER AND MURDER?
Murder is said to be killing someone with “the intent to kill”. This means that to be convicted for murder, a person must have intended to end the victim’s life at the time that they took the actions that resulted in their death.
Manslaughter on the other hand, is a killing without the intent to kill, or a killing without reckless indifference to human life. This means that while a person may have performed the acts that resulted in a death, it cannot be proven that they intended to do so.
SHOULD THE LAWS BE TOUGHENED?
According to the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council (QSAC), “Current sentences for the manslaughter of a child are inadequate and do not reflect community expectations”. Attorney General Yvette D’Ath asked the council to carry out a 12-month review of child homicide sentencing in October last year.
The council made eight recommendations in its final report, including that a new “aggravating factor” be applied when victims are under 12-years-old — forcing courts to consider the defenselessness and vulnerability of the victim.
The above is consistent with sexual offences where the complainant is under 16. These sexual offences are aggravated in nature as the complainant is a child. There appears to me, no issue in implementing manslaughter charges that are “aggravated” having regard to the age of the child.