Québec City Murder & Manslaughter Lawyer

In 2022, 110 people lost their lives through murder or manslaughter in Québec. As soon as you know you are the target of a murder or manslaughter investigation, you should seek professional counsel from an experienced criminal defence lawyer in Québec. These most serious charges should not be faced alone. Having a lawyer by your side can help to protect your rights, open doors for negotiation with prosecutors, and help ensure that police, prosecutors, and judges operate within the constitutional and statutory constraints to protect your rights.

The most important thing to remember when confronted by the police is to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you. Police like to interview suspects before they have a chance to consult with their lawyers. Don’t fall into that trap. Police are allowed to make misleading and false statements to lure a suspect into talking. Instead of answering their questions, immediately request to speak to a lawyer. And then stay silent.

In This Article

What Is the Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter?

Under Canadian law, the difference between murder and manslaughter is determined by evidence of intent and the mindset of the defendant.

Murder requires premeditation and planning or the intent to kill. Manslaughter is ordinarily more spontaneous, a volatile act in the heat of the moment.

Murder is charged in degrees. The Crown must prove that the defendant caused the death of another person with evidence that establishes an intent to cause that death, serious bodily harm, or recklessness. The extent of planning and the circumstances of the murder affect the degree charged.

First-degree murder includes:

  • Contracted murder
  • Murder of a police or peace officer while performing their duties
  • Murder committed during a hijacking, sexual assault, kidnapping, terrorism, criminal harassment, or part of a criminal enterprise
  • Murder committed through intimidation

Second-degree murder is charged when there is no premeditation but there is evidence of intent to kill, maim, or through recklessness.

Manslaughter is charged when the death occurred was the result of an unlawful act or when the death was caused through threats, fear of violence, or deception. Manslaughter can also be charged when the death is the result of unlawfully frightening a child or a vulnerable, sick person.

What are the Possible Consequences of a Murder and Manslaughter Charge?

First-degree murder is the most serious offence, requiring the imposition of a mandatory life sentence with eligibility for parole after serving 25 years. In order to qualify for parole, a defendant must:

  • Demonstrate good behaviour throughout the time of incarceration
  • Admit responsibility for the death
  • Show a commitment to rehabilitation

After earning the right to parole, any deviation from the conditions for release can result in a return to prison to serve additional time.

Second-degree murder is also punishable with a life sentence, with eligibility for parole at 10-25 years, depending on the judge’s discretion during sentencing. This eligibility is dependent upon the circumstances of the murder.

Unlike murder, manslaughter does not carry a mandatory life sentence, although the sentencing judge does have the discretion to impose a life sentence. If a life sentence is imposed, eligibility for parole is not attached to a specific time period served. When lesser sentences are imposed, a defendant might become eligible for parole after serving just a few years. However, if a firearm was used in the commission of the crime, then the minimum sentence is four years, with eligibility for parole available after serving one-third of the sentence.

The Importance of Choosing a Skilled Québec City Murder & Manslaughter Lawyer

When the Crown apprehends you for murder or manslaughter, your life may be thrown into chaos. You are faced with the prospect of withstanding the daunting resources of the police and the courts and their power to investigate, obtain evidence, subpoena, and interrogate witnesses.  You need a skilled, determined criminal defence lawyer with extensive experience in murder and manslaughter cases.

To protect your rights, your Québec City Murder & Manslaughter Lawyer should have a thorough knowledge of the law and criminal procedure, a deep understanding of police methods and familiarity with individual police officers, and a command of the courtroom in front of a judge and jury. Ideally, your defence lawyer has earned the respect of the Crown, police, and judges to help make sure that all government authorities behave properly and consistently with Canadian and provincial law, as well as our Constitution and Charter of Rights & Freedoms. Quebec criminal defence lawyer Patrick Jacques possesses all these qualities.

The Crown will have its narrative of events and circumstances that led to you being charged with murder or manslaughter. Your defence will depend on introducing reasonable doubt into that narrative. Has the Crown correctly interpreted the meaning of physical evidence? Are witness and witness statements believable? To mount an effective defence, your lawyer must examine the evidence, the actions taken by the police, and the methods they used to gather evidence to develop an alternative, plausible narrative and thereby create reasonable doubt.

A credible defence is based on the particular facts of each case and often includes:

  • Making sure that the Crown provides all evidence assembled in their possession in a timely manner to defence counsel
  • Reviewing police activities to make sure they followed Canadian and provincial law, the Constitution, and the Charter of Rights & Freedoms in their methods for interrogating witnesses, gathering evidence, and other activities
  • Examining all hard evidence, including photos, texts, and other documents
  • Reviewing ballistics, forensics, DNA evidence and any other scientific analyses
  • Scrutinizing witness testimony and delving into witnesses’ backgrounds and circumstances to discover facts that may impugn their reliability. For example, was their judgement impaired by alcohol or drugs? Was lighting during an event consistent with what they stated they saw?
  • Obtaining new evidence that brings into question the credibility of police, possible victims, and any other witnesses for the prosecution
  • Based on these efforts, skillfully organizing this information to build an alternate narrative and create reasonable doubt

Why Choose Patrick Jacques as Your Québec City Murder & Manslaughter Lawyer

During his distinguished twenty-plus-year career as a defence lawyer, Patrick has dedicated his skills and knowledge of the law to protect his clients accused of murder or manslaughter. A staunch negotiator, a shrewd interrogator of witnesses, and a confident strategist in the courtroom, Patrick Jacques has earned a reputation for intrepid and ethical defence of his clients.

If you have been accused of murder or manslaughter, choose the individualized, experienced representation of Patrick Jacques by calling 418-880-0694 or emailing today to arrange for a free consultation.

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