If you or someone you know has been involved in an individual’s death, you need expert, specialist legal help from the best available criminal defence solicitors. Whether you are an individual charged with murder or manslaughter, or a company facing corporate manslaughter charges, the experienced criminal team at Qamar Solicitors are available to assist.
Sympathetic but aggressive
Every case is different; each defendant is unique. The evidence and the circumstances must be carefully analysed by expert lawyers early in the case to ensure we give our client the best possible advice and representation.
We bring our considerable skills and successful experience to each client facing a murder or manslaughter charge. We also strive to deal with our clients sympathetically, recognising the devastating impact potential convictions cause.
However, we will aggressively defend our clients when called for. Our criminal defence team, led by Qamar Islam, has years of successfully defending clients on serious criminal charges and is steadily building up a national reputation for the practice. Whether you need urgent advice and representation at the police station, or you’re seeking an experienced solicitor for the highest level of representation to take over your case, contact us straightaway and at the earliest opportunity.
To succeed in obtaining a murder conviction, the prosecution must prove to a jury beyond reasonable doubt that an individual of sound mind killed someone with intent, or intended to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH), in other words, really serious harm.
Where someone has been unlawfully killed, there may be insufficient evidence to charge an individual with murder. In these cases, the individual could be charged with:
Voluntary manslaughter where there was an intention to kill or to cause GBH - but a partial defence is available to the person charged (the defendant), or
Involuntary manslaughter where the defendant had no intention to kill or to cause GBH, for instance, where the defendant’s gross negligence, or an illegal or dangerous act resulted in someone’s death
Individuals are criminally liable for their own wrongdoing, not for other people’s illegal actions. However, where a group of people are acting together, they can be jointly charged as a ‘joint enterprise’ and convicted.
This is a complex area because where a murder takes place involving more than one person who was in the same place, it may be difficult to identify who inflicted the fatal wound or blow. All those in the group could be convicted of murder on the basis they were present and therefore jointly responsible if:
They participated in the violence either directly or by way of encouragement
They realised their behaviour could result in death or serious injury
They intended for their actions to support the activity of the main offender
Simple association or being accidentally present at the scene is not sufficient – knowledge is required. If you have been charged with murder but you believe someone else in the group was responsible, contact us for urgent advice. The expert joint enterprise team at Qamar Solicitors will examine the evidence and advise you on your potential liability and whether any defence could be raised.
What defences are available?
If you or someone you know has been charged with murder or manslaughter, a number of potential defences are available. However, the possibility of relying on a defence must be examined as early as possible – another reason why seeking legal advice early in the investigation stage is critical.
If you killed someone, or hurt someone who later died as a result, but you were defending yourself or someone else where it was believed there was grave danger – you may be able to rely on self-defence. However, the use of force used must have been proportionate to the level of danger perceived. Successfully relying on self-defence will lead to an acquittal which means you will be free. Sometimes what may be claimed to be self-defence is, in fact, retaliation.
We take detailed information from our clients about the circumstance in which the victim died and advise if there are grounds to rely on self-defence.
If you killed someone, but you experienced an abnormality of mental function at the time of the offence that led to the victim’s death, we may be able to raise diminished responsibility as a ‘partial’ defence. This will reduce a murder charge to manslaughter which would mean a reduced sentence on conviction.
If you seek to rely on diminished responsibility, you must be able to prove that you suffered from an abnormality of the mind caused by a recognised medical condition and it must have substantially impaired your mental responsibility at the time. Our experts will advise you whether there are sufficient grounds to raise diminished responsibility in defence.
Loss of self-control (provocation)
If you killed someone when you experienced a sudden, temporary loss of control as a result of something someone said or did, you can raise the ‘partial’ defence of provocation. However, it is important to know that to succeed with this defence, a ‘reasonable person’ would have been expected to respond in the same way. This will also reduce a murder charge to manslaughter and lead to a reduced sentence.
If two individuals decide to die together in a suicide pact and one party survives and was responsible for taking part in the death of the other party, he or she can raise this in defence.
Attempted Murder and Conspiracy
Where there was an attempt to kill, an individual may be charged with attempted murder. The defendant must have had the intention to kill (not just to cause GBH).
Where a group of individuals agreed a course of action that would result in killing someone unlawfully; or a third party has been hired to kill someone – conspiracy to murder charges may ensue.
These cases can be complex and we advise you seek specialist legal advice from the criminal defence team at Qamar Solicitors without delay. The earlier you seek legal advice, the better your chances of successfully raising a defence to any charges.