Chapter 11
Sentencing for homicide

Overview of the submissions

11.9All submitters agreed that it is important for judges to have sufficient flexibility to impose reduced sentences when victims of family violence kill their abusers and are found guilty of manslaughter or murder. The Issues Paper invited comment on whether additional mitigating factors could be included in the Sentencing Act or whether the threshold for displacing the presumption of life imprisonment needed to be reformed.

11.10The majority of submitters believed that there should be changes to sentencing law. Many considered that there would be benefit in elaborating on family violence as a mitigating factor. Some noted that sentencing reform could be a viable alternative to a partial defence. Other submitters were, however, more equivocal, stating that, although changes to sentencing may highlight societal concern, the list of mitigating factors is already non-exhaustive and the presumption of life imprisonment has previously been displaced in family violence homicide cases.