You are guilty of murder if you caused the death of a person and you intended to kill that person or cause them serious harm.

Major Indictable Charge

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

What the prosecution must prove

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

  • committed an act which caused the death of a person; and
  • you intended to cause that person serious harm or death.


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 provoked; or
  • you did not commit the act.


The penalty for murder is life imprisonment. The minimum non-parole period is 20 years. 

Depending on the circumstances of the offence it may be possible to have the charge of murder downgraded to manslaughter which does not have a minimum non-parole period.

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