You are guilty of an offence of manslaughter if a person dies because you acted in a way which created a real risk of injury and were acting unlawfully.

Manslaughter is an alternative verdict to murder.

Major Indictable Charge

Manslaughter is a major indictable charge. The proceedings will commence in the Magistrates Court of South Australia. If there is sufficient evidence against you, the case will be transferred to the Supreme Court of South Australia.

What the prosecution must prove

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) must prove that you:

  • did the act;
  • the act caused the death of a person;
  • you should have known that there was a real risk of injury;
  • that you acted unlawfully.


There are a range of possible defences including, but not limited to, the following:

  • you were acting in self-defence;
  • you were acting in defence of another;
  • you were acting in defence of property;
  • your action was involuntary;
  • you were provooked;
  • you did not commit the act.


The maximum penalty for manslaughter is life imprisonment.

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