Voluntary Manslaughter in Canada

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Voluntary Manslaughter in Canada

The term “Voluntary Manslaughter” is quite popular and known in the field of criminology. By reading this term, anybody can say that this term is related to something about killing a human.

When someone is charged for killing a human being – without planning but to kill that person – that is voluntary manslaughter.

Anybody can not deny the fact that it is not a crime. It is a crime, but before judging the offender, the court does the investigation. And if the situation proves him innocent, he can make himself from the charge of murder.

In this article, we have collected all the information about this type of manslaughter that everybody should know as a human being. To know the details about this term, you have to read the whole article.

So, let’s jump on the below section.

What Makes a Murder Call “Voluntary Manslaughter”?

When we talk about murder cases, most of them are pre-planned, and the intention is very clear about killing the victim.

Manslaughter and murder have the same meaning but can be divided into three parts about the type of manslaughter. They are:

Voluntary Manslaughter

When someone defines murder as voluntary manslaughter, it needs a few elements that can allow it to call like this. Voluntary is used to indicate something that happens due to the willingness of an individual. The elements that can make a murder call voluntary manslaughter are,


Provocation is the main thing that helps to differentiate between murder and voluntary manslaughter. Suppose someone highly provoked the offender before committing the crime of killing, which contains adequate and logical cause to kill the victim. In that case, it is called voluntary manslaughter, not murder.

Provocation is a very bad thing that can compel a normal human being to commit the lower form of crime. It has the power of destroying the normal mental state of an individual by losing self-control.

Passion or Intention

The crime of passion definition says that sometimes people commit crimes due to the passion for meeting their intention. Voluntary manslaughter happens in the heat of the moment or the spar of the moment, but the purpose is never only to harm the victim. The intention is always about killing the victim. The passion comes, in this case, from the heat of the moment due to provocation.

These two elements have successfully answered the question “what is voluntary manslaughter”?. So, basically, men’s rea for manslaughter is voluntary manslaughter. An example of voluntary manslaughter can give the perfect clear idea about it.


Suppose Jon and Mile are neighbours, but recently they are not on good terms due to some familial issues. Suddenly they drove into an argument that started getting uglier, but the people witnessing the chaos didn’t even try to stop it.

On the contrary, they provoked Jon to fight harder. They keep provoking Jon, and suddenly in the heat of the moment, Jon takes a hammer and keeps brimming it until Mile dies. This incident left the people standing near them speechless, but they were the people who were provoking Jon to do the crime.

Here, in this case, Jon had a clear intention of killing Mile as he kept hitting his head until he died, and the presence of provocation was also enough to participate involuntary manslaughter.

Involuntary Manslaughter

To define voluntary, it has already been mentioned that doing something voluntarily means doing the thing willingly. Involuntary is the opposite word of voluntary.

The voluntary definition can also be used to describe the term involuntary just a slight change is needed. When a person does something without his principles or consent, it is called an involuntary thing.

When someone unintentionally kills a human being, it is known as involuntary manslaughter. It can be happened due to comparative negligence, recklessness, accident, etc.

For example, construction work was going on in a place. The work was going on above the 6th floor of the building. Usually, a man was passing through the nearby road of the building, and suddenly a brick fell and hit the man’s head, and the man instantly died at that moment.

In this case, the death resulted from some unintentional causes, but it happened due to the negligence of the construction workers. Negligent manslaughter happens due to gross negligence, and it also can be counted as involuntary manslaughter.

Manslaughter Sentence in Canada

Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular manslaughter is related to the homicide that has a connection with vehicles.

When a homicide happens without any intention of killing hitting a vehicle, it is known as vehicular manslaughter. It can occur due to reckless driving or due to the mechanical problem of the vehicle.

Difference Between Voluntary vs Involuntary Manslaughter

The difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter is significant. Unintentional murder of a person is referred to as involuntary manslaughter. It could be the outcome of misdemeanor, irresponsibility, or criminal negligence.

Involuntary manslaughter occurs when the offender does not want the victim to kill. For example, even though it was not his goal to kill the person, a drunk driver may hit and kill him.

Intentional murder is referred to as voluntary manslaughter. In fact, the offender of an involuntary killing has no prior intention of murdering. In the “heat of passion,” the murder takes place. The circumstances that lead to the crime are the kind that would disturb a person with reasonable judgment psychologically or emotionally. If these factors weren’t there, the crime might have been considered first-degree murder or second-degree murder. This crime falls between murder, which is a homicide done with criminal intent and hate, and the appropriate and justified taking of life in self-defence. This last scenario is not illegal.

The concept of voluntary manslaughter differs from involuntary manslaughter and is based on the state in which the crime is committed. On the other hand, involuntary manslaughter happens when a person dies due to the defendant’s negligence or carelessness.

Defences (Voluntary Manslaughter)

The charge of voluntary manslaughter is no less than the charge of murder. So, the defences are also as same as those murder cases. It can include mainly four things. They are:


When an individual meets danger, it is his/her first duty to save his/her life at first, whatever the situation is. In self-defence cases, sometimes people kill the offender to save his life. In this case, if the victim successfully proves the situation in the court, they get released lawfully.

Because, according to law, if you are a victim, you have the right to do anything to save your life. Voluntary manslaughter cases can also go under self-defence cases.

Actual Innocence

Suppose an individual is charged with the allegation of voluntary manslaughter, despite being innocent. In that case, a lawyer can help him free himself from the charge and catch the actual offender. Proving innocence is the big challenge here.


If the lawyer can prove that the moment of killing was the moment of insanity for the offender, he can get away from the charges of voluntary manslaughter. Before that, you have to keep in mind that the term “insanity” is treated in the jurisdiction you have reached to fight your case.

Accidental Killing

If the offender can prove in court that the killing occurred due to an accident, he can be free from the case. In this type of case, the result mostly depends on how the lawyer represents it in the court.

Manslaughter Criminal Code in Canada

Punishment for Voluntary Manslaughter

A moment in crime can change the whole life of yours whether it was intentional or unintentional. Any manslaughter is a crime even if the court sentence the culprit innocent.

The person who attempted manslaughter is no less than the person already involved in voluntary or involuntary manslaughter. The punishment of voluntary manslaughter in Canada is so strict, and that includes,

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

We understand that you have queries related to voluntary manslaughter. It is because we regularly get queries from our readers who need help with their cases related to it. In the below section, you will get answers to the most asked queries. Without further due, let’s check those answers now.

Question: What is Voluntary Manslaughter?

Answer: Killing someone willingly in the heat of the moment where adequate provocation was present.

Question: What are Voluntary Manslaughter Examples?

Answer: When someone is angry and provoked by someone simultaneously, and mixing these two things creates a homicide, it can be an example of voluntary homicide.

Question: What Level is Voluntary Manslaughter?

Answer: Voluntary manslaughter is compared with the third/second-degree charge of murder.

Question: What Does Voluntary Manslaughter Involve?

Answer: Provocation – words that highly provoked the defendant, the passion of the moment, less time to gain self-control.

Question: Is It Hard to Prove Voluntary Manslaughter?

Answer: Yes, it is hard to prove voluntary manslaughter. However, if you can manage to take assistance from an experienced lawyer, it would be easier for you. Get in touch with Criminal Lawyer Regina and get the necessary help.

Question: How Long Do You Go to Jail for Voluntary Manslaughter?

Answer: It can charge fines along with the punishment of at least eight years of jail.

Final verdict

Homicide is the biggest sin that can happen to a human being. Whatever the reason behind the killing, it can never justify it as anything right to do. Whether the killing is voluntary or involuntary, one must be self-conscious enough to stay away from inhuman issues like manslaughter.