The basic distinction is murder requires malice aforethought, while manslaughter has no such requirement. http://www.ilrg.com/download/crim1.rtf
Student or Learner
May I know the difference in meaning between the words Murder and Manslaughter?
Killing another person is commonly referred to as murder. However, the precise term for the killing of one person by another is homicide. Murder is a form of criminal homicide that has a precise legal meaning. Murder is usually defined as the "unlawful killing of another with malice aforethought (or "an abandoned and malignant heart"). Malice aforethought refers to the perpetrator's intention of doing harm.
In order to commit voluntary manslaughter, a person must have committed a homicide, but have acted in the "heat of passion."
Read more here: Murder vs. Manslaughter
thanks for your reply. It is very informative.
In fact, your answer to my previous question has triggered me to ask you another question.
In your reply, you mentioned "heat of passion.", and my question is, does it refer to the passion of killing or the passion of mercy (in other word, not killing)
Both, depending on what you're asking. That a person acted "in the heat of passion" in killing another can reduce the charge to manslaughter; to act "in the heat of passion" in killing another means the person acted on emotion.
From law.com Law Dictionary
heat of passionFrom Heat of Passion legal definition of Heat of Passion. Heat of Passion synonyms by the Free Online Law Dictionary.
n. in a criminal case, when the accused was in an uncontrollable rage at the time of commission of the alleged crime. If so, it may reduce the charge, indictment or judgment down from murder to manslaughter, since the passion precluded the defendant having premeditation or being fully mentally capable of knowing what he/she was doing.
A finding that a person who killed another acted in the heat of passion will reduce murder to Manslaughter under certain circumstances. The essential prerequisites for such a reduction are that the accused must be provoked to a point of great anger or rage, such that the person loses his or her normal capacity for self-control; the circumstances must be such that a reasonable person, faced with the same degree of provocation, would react in a similar manner; and finally, there must not have been an opportunity for the accused to have "cooled off" or regained self-control during the period between the provocation and the killing.
Last edited by Soup; 29-Jun-2008 at 10:40.
In English law the difference between murder and manslaughter is intent.
Nearly all crimes require two things to be proved. The guilty act, termed, the actus reus, and the guilty mind,termed the mens rea, both must be proved for the defendant to be convicted. The actus reus for both murder and manslaughter is that you kill another person. The mens rea however is different. In murder you must intend to kill or cause grievous bodily harm. In manslaughter you must intend or be reckless as to whether you cause death or gievous bodily harm, in other words the mental requirement is not as high, this is reflected in the sentence the judge may give. For murder the sentence is mandatory life imprisonment. For manslaughter the maximum is life imprisonment. The judge therefor has discretion in the sentence he gives, he may give anything from a conditional discharge to life. There is no concept of crime of passion in English law,( there is in French law), provocation is a defence to either of the above charges.