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Section 234 of the Criminal Code defines manslaughter as “culpable homicide that is not murder or infanticide”. Unlike murder, manslaughter does not require an intention to kill.
Manslaughter can be further categorized into two main forms:
Voluntary Manslaughter: Voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person causes the death of another person in the heat of passion or as a result of provocation. In these cases, there may be intent to cause harm but not intent to kill. The accused's judgment is impaired due to emotional or provocative factors.
Involuntary Manslaughter: Involuntary manslaughter occurs when a person causes the death of another person unintentionally, without any intent to harm or kill. It typically involves reckless or careless behavior that leads to a fatal outcome, such as a car accident caused by reckless driving.
Key elements of the offence of manslaughter include:
Culpable Homicide: Manslaughter involves culpable homicide, which means causing the death of a human being.
Lack of Specific Intent: The accused person does not have the specific intent to cause death, as is required for murder. However, they may have intended to cause harm or acted recklessly.
Unlawful Act: In some cases of involuntary manslaughter, the accused may have engaged in an unlawful act that resulted in the victim's death, even if they did not intend to harm anyone.
Penalties for manslaughter can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case, the degree of responsibility of the accused, and other factors. A conviction for manslaughter typically results in a sentence of imprisonment, but the length of the sentence can vary significantly.