Provocation: a defence which can turn a conviction for murder into a conviction for manslaughter. When a person is accused of murder, he can raise the defence that the unlawful killing of the victim was not murder but merely manslaughter because the victim caused a provocation which led the accused to kill the victim.
The defence of provocation is provided in Section 23 of the Crimes Act 1900. Under this law, the victim’s conduct provoked the accused to lose control and the loss of control was the reason why the accused killed the victim.
Provocation is only a partial defence. A partial defence does not completely absolve the accused from criminal liability for murder. The only effect of proving this defence is that the accused will only be convicted of manslaughter even if all the elements of murder have been successfully proven by the prosecutor.
To avail of the defence of provocation, the accused must have observed an offensive conduct of the victim which caused him to react, lose control and kill the victim. The accused must prove that any ordinary person under the same circumstances who could have observed the conduct of the victim just as the accused had, would also find the victim’s conduct to be offensive that the ordinary person would also be enraged, lose control and kill the victim just as the accused had done.
If the accused succeeds in proving all the elements of the defence of provocation, the prosecution will be given the opportunity to prove that there was no provocation at all from the victim; that the victim’s conduct was not at all offensive; or that an ordinary person who could have observed the victim’s conduct would not have been enraged at all, or even if he would have been enraged, the ordinary person would not have lost control or kill the victim.
This defence is especially useful to victims of domestic abuse who succeed in killing their abusers. The physical, verbal, sexual or emotional abuse perpetrated by the abuser against the accused was so offensive that it enraged the accused, caused the accused to lose control and kill the abuser.
If you are accused of murder and you do not deny having killed the victim but you deny having had a murderous intent, this defence may be available to you. Ask a criminal lawyer to help you evaluate the facts of your case to see if this defence of provocation may be available to you. 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.
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.