Section 19A Crimes Act 1900 | Punishment for Murder


If you’re facing murder charges, you may be wondering what kinds of penalties you could face if you are convicted.

Section 19A of the Crimes Act 1900 states that the maximum penalty for murder is life imprisonment.

Life imprisonment means that you must serve the rest of your life in prison.

While this is the harshest penalty under our law, it’s important to bear in mind that it is the maximum penalty, which means that it will only apply in the most serious murder cases.

In fact, only five people in New South Wales have ever received a life sentence for murder.

Nevertheless, murder still carries heavy penalties, including a standard non-parole period of 20 years.

This means that a person convicted of murder which is considered to be in the mid-range of seriousness will generally spend 20 years in prison.

However, the standard non-parole period and maximum penalty are simply guidelines which the judge should take into account when considering the offence as a whole.

If the facts and circumstances of your case make it more or less serious than the ‘average’ murder case, the judge can impose a higher or lower non-parole period.

The types of things that the court can consider when sentencing you include whether or not you intended to kill the other person, and the extent of harm and suffering suffered by that person.

You can increase your chances of getting a more favourable outcome and a lower penalty by getting assistance from a highly experienced lawyer who specialises in criminal law and murder.

The Legislation

Section 19A of the Crimes Act 1900, which states the punishment for murder, reads as follows:

19A Punishment for murder

(1) A person who commits the crime of murder is liable to imprisonment for life.

(2) A person sentenced to imprisonment for life for the crime of murder is to serve that sentence for the term of the person’s natural life.

(3) Nothing in this section affects the operation of section 21 (1) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (which authorises the passing of a lesser sentence than imprisonment for life).

(4) This section applies to murder committed before or after the commencement of this section.

(5) However, this section does not apply where committal proceedings (or proceedings by way of ex officio indictment) for the murder were instituted against the convicted person before the commencement of this section. In such a case, section 19 as in force before that commencement continues to apply.

(6) Nothing in this section affects the prerogative of mercy.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

If you’ve been charged with murder, your first step should be to get a highly experienced criminal lawyer on your side.

The senior defence team at Sydney Criminal Lawyers specialises in murder cases, and has over 15 years experience winning these difficult cases.

We have helped clients secure ‘not guilty’ verdicts in some of the most complex murder cases by disputing the prosecution evidence and raising all possible defences.

In others, we have worked hard to secure the lowest possible sentence, so that our clients can get on with their lives as soon as possible.

We guarantee representation by one of our senior lawyers, who are highly skilled advocates that have been recognised for their expert knowledge and experience in the field of criminal law.

We pride ourselves on our ability to consistently achieve better results than any other leading law firm.

Murder cases demand the skill and experience of an expert. Don’t waste your time dealing with inexperienced lawyers – get Sydney’s murder specialists on your side today. Call us on
(02) 9261 8881
and let us help you win your murder case.