Partial defences and separate homicide offences
8.12The key reform options appear to be:
(a) traditional-style partial defences (like provocation or loss of control, excessive self-defence and diminished responsibility);
(b) tailored partial defences, like Queensland’s killing for preservation in an abusive relationship; and
(c) a separate homicide offence, like Victoria’s now-repealed defensive homicide or New Zealand’s infanticide, which is an example of a “dual role” provision that can be both charged as an offence or pleaded as a defence to murder or manslaughter.
8.13There may be little practical distinction to be drawn between partial defences and separate homicide offences, since both will yield a conviction for homicide that is less culpable than murder. However, partial defences reduce murder to manslaughter in all cases and are, thus, something of a blunt instrument.
8.14A separate homicide offence may more accurately reflect a defendant’s culpability and, therefore, be preferable from a “labelling” perspective. They allow a charge to be laid for the separate offence when the prosecution considers that such a charge more accurately reflects the offender’s culpability.