Legal Research > Sentencing Tables

This table is intended to be used as a guide only. Individual cases should be read if they are to be relied upon.

 

Manslaughter - Substantial Impairment - Post 3.4.1998  

Section 23A was amended on 3.4.1998 to replace Diminished Responsibility with Substantial Impairment. The amended section applies to alleged offences committed after the date of the amendment. 

Case

Type

Basis

Plea

Record

Sentence

Appeal

Facts

Dawney
(30)

NSW SC [944]

Barr J
15.9.1999

Substantial Impairment

Young child

Assault - domestic

major depressive illness - borderline and schizotypal personality disorder - stresses at time of offence

PG

nil

MT 5y
AT 3y

 

Mother smothered 3y daughter - father of child taking Family Court action to gain custody.

Violent upbringing - history of sexual abuse

Tran
(37)

NSWSC [1146]

Bell J
1.12.1999

Substantial Impairment

Stabbing - domestic

severe depression

VG

 

MT 3y 6m
AT 2y 6m

 

Stabbed mother in law with scissors - wife stabbed in shoulder attempting to help - estrangement from wife caused primarily by V - had gone to house of wife to see her resulting in confrontation with V.

Excellent prospects of rehabilitation

Wang

NSWSC [447]

Adams J
23.5.2000

Substantial impairment

Assault – domestic

Young child

severe depressive illness

PG

nil

6y
NPP 4y

 

Female strangled husband and poisoned 1y daughter. Attempting to kill self when found by police. Accidentally killed husband trying to keep him from preventing her killing herself and daughter.

Daughter suffering from cerebral palsy and worried no one would look after her.

Jans
(55)

NSW SC [525]

Grove J
14.6.2000

Substantial impairment

Stabbing - domestic

major depressive episode

PG

Nil

PSC 6m
4y GBB

 

Stabbed wife with kitchen knife - found by police threatening to jump off 12 storey roof - undiagnosed Huntington’s Chorea disease caused V to become irrationally abusive to offender over long period of time.

Forgiven by 3 children and low risk of re-offending.

Sette
(31)

NSW SC [648]

Barr J
6.7.2000

Substantial impairment

Young child

Stabbing - domestic

significant depressive illness for long period of time and in dissociated state at time of killing

PG

nil

2y suspended for 2y

 

Female removed 1y son from adoptive parents during access visit, - stabbed him and hid body in dam - impulsive killing.

Forced into adoption by family. Support of family; remorse; rehabilitation.

Bateman

NSWSC [867]

Barr J
30.8.2000

Substantial impairment

Assault - domestic

major depression

PG

nil

5y GBB

 

Male killed wife of 51y bashing her to death with hammer while asleep. Both husband and wife ill, and he suffered major depression after house damaged by hailstones.

Deep remorse. Condition of bond to continue with treatment program.

Li

NSWSC [1088]

G.James J
24.11.2000

Substantial impairment

Young child

Endogenous depression

PG

nil

5y GBB

 

Killed young child intending to then kill self.

Remorse and retained family support.

Hawkins
(76)

NSWSC [420]

O’Keefe J
24.5.2001

Substantial impairment

Assault - domestic

Depression - adverse reaction to overdose of Zoloft (anti depressive medication)

PG

nil

3y
NPP 2y

 

Strangled wife of nearly 50 years to death.

Offence completely out of character - excellent personal and family history - remorse - voluntarily surrendered to police - considered suicide but concerned about effect on daughter.

Connolly

NSWSC [787]

Dowd J
20.7.2001

Substantial impairment

Stabbing - domestic

delusional disorder

PG

minor record

7y 6m
NPP 4y 6m

 

Stabbed wife after forming unfounded suspicion that she was unfaithful to him. Suffering delusional disorder focussed upon perceived unfaithfulness of wife. Had similar obsession with former wife. Also intoxicated at time of offence.

Remorse - 25% discount for plea.

Pello
(40)

NSW SC [650]

Hidden J
3.8.2001

Substantial impairment

Stabbing - domestic

major depressive illness

PG

insignificant

5y 6m
NPP 3y

 

Stabbed female sharing house with after V argued and abused other occupants of house for several hours. Provocation assessed against background of stressful and exploitative environment of house. Offence uncharacteristic. Degree of provocation high - accepted provocation was relevant to culpability.

Unhappy childhood in West Timor - Miserable existence in Australia - Genuine remorse - Suffering psychiatric illness at time of offence - Isolation in gaol.

Bartlett
(51)

NSWSC [685]

Hidden J
9.8.2001

Substantial impairment

Assault – domestic

Fight

Personality disorder with schizotypal traits and chronic depression

PG

nil

8y
NPP 4y

 

Struck V with a hammer several times during altercation in boarding house room.

 

Potts
(34)

NSWSC [753]

Hidden J
31.8.2001

Substantial impairment

Stabbing - domestic

Schizophrenia

VG

armed robbery, minor drug and violence, street offences.

7y
NPP 3y 9m

 

Stabbed father in frenzied attack. Deeply affected by deaths of mother and two siblings. History of aggression during previous exacerbations of his illness

Santos
(47)

NSWSC [923]

Levine J
12.10.2001

Substantial impairment

Stabbing - general

Depression and brain damage

PG

nil

7y
NPP 5y 3m

 

Stabbed male 21 times in car park - believed V having relationship with estranged wife - Frenzied attack - carried knife for work purposes

Laupama
(29)

NSWSC [1082]

Bell J
7.12.2001

Substantial impairment

Assault - domestic

Young child

Major depressive illness (additionally diagnosed PTSD, social phobia, substance dependence).

PG

 

Kidnapping

assault

12y
NPP 8y

 

Hung de facto wife’s five year old daughter in noose from pergola following separation from de facto.

Sexually assaulted as child.

Murphy
(44)

NSWSC [150]

Buddin J
4.3.2002

Substantial impairment

Stabbing - domestic

Major depressive illness

 

PG

nil

7y 6m
NPP 4y

 

Stabbed estranged wife’s lover in their bed - provocation fell short of legal provocation but combined with SI to reduce sentence - spontaneous.

Devastated by marriage breakdown - Considerations of deterrence and retribution much reduced - Remorse - Good prospects of rehabilitation

Pope

NSWSC [397]

Greg James
7.5.2002

Infanticide

Young child

Drowning

 

PG

 

3y GBB

 

Mother drowned 12w daughter in bath - existing mental condition worsened after birth of baby - Nature and extent of condition not fully realised

Some improvement in mental condition - Support of husband and family

Richards
(39)

NSWSC [415]

Kirby J
17.5.2002

Substantial impairment

Young child

General

delusional disorder

PG

Mansl

2 x Att murder

nil

FT 15m 10d

5y GBB

(immediate release)

 

Suffering delusional disorder focussed on perceived sexual abuse by fathers of children - Faced losing custody of children at Family Court hearing - Attempted to kill self and three children by carbon monoxide poisoning - Only baby died

Improvement in mental health - Protective custody - Remorse

Mabbott
(35)

NSWSC [502]

Hidden J
11.6.2002

Substantial impairment

Stabbing - domestic

schizophrenic illness

PG

lengthy record - summary

7y
NPP 3y 6m

 

Female - Stabbed step-brother in neck after being called a dog - Prior de facto relationship with victim characterised by violence - Suffering paranoid delusions since birth of youngest son and schizophrenic illness at time of offence

Improvement in mental condition - Chaotic life including drug addiction, turbulent relationships and prostitution

Hucker
(27)

NSWSC [1068]

Howie J
6.11.2002

Substantial impairment

Shooting - general

Paranoid schizophrenic (diagnosed after offence)

PG

(15%)

nil

9y 6m
NPP 5y

 

While on a shooting excursion shot good friend under delusional belief he had raped A’s mother, sister and grandmother. Tried to get V’s father, who was present, to say V had shot himself.

Protective custody

Dawes

NSWCCA [363]

5.11.2004

Substantial impairment

Assault – domestic

Young child

Depressive illness

PG

Nil

5y GBB

Crown AD

Mother suffocated 10y autistic son – Suffering major depressive illness – Unable to obtain proper assistance or intervention – V very difficult to manage – Verbal and physical abuse by husband – Illness and death of family members – Step father physically abusing daughter – Made serious attempt at suicide

Remorse and contrition – Evidence of rehabilitation with daughter

Nicol
(86)

NSWSC [547]

Hulme J
27.5.2005

Substantial impairment

Assault - domestic

depression

PG

Nil

2y

NPP 1y

Suspended

 

Assaulted wife with iron bar and asphyxiated with plastic bag – genuine attempted at suicide – intent to kill – elderly couple with many health problems

Hantis

(48)

NSWSC [549]

James J

17.6.2005

Substantial impairment

Shooting - domestic

depression

VG
(murder trial)

 

PG
Possess unauthorised firearm

 

8y
NPP 4y

(concurrent sentence)

 

Deliberate and premeditated killing of mother’s de facto husband – angered by perception that V stealing from business and assaulting mother – genuine attempt to commit suicide

Suffering depression – serious injuries from suicide attempt – Remorse – Good character

Gagalowicz
(18)

NSWSC [675]

Adams J
8.7.2005

 

NSW CCA [452]
22.12.2005

Substantial impairment

Assault - general

Drug-induced psychosis

VG
(murder trial – guilty plea rejected)

Nil

8y
NPP 4y

Crown AA

10y
NPP 6y

Assaulted drug supplier with cricket bat - psychotic episode caused by amphetamine use – dismembered body and buried in backyard

Diabetic - long term drug abuse

Zeng

NSWSC [1344]

McClellan CJ at CL
16.12.2005

Substantial impairment

Shooting - domestic

Major depressive disorder

PG
Mansl
Possess pistol

 

8y
NPP 4y 6m

 

Female shot female cousin in head – upset by victim’s plan to move out of shared accommodation – possessed gun with intention of committing suicide – impulsive offence - suffering major depressive disorder

Remorse – Chinese national with language difficulties

RG
(44)

NSWSC [21]

Buddin J
2.2.2006

Substantial Impairment

Young child

Assault - domestic

Psychotic illness

PG

Minor

3y
NPP 1y 3m 2d

(immediate release)

 

Mother drowned 5m daughter in river – Suffering psychotic illness (substantial impairment in upper range)

Protective custody – Family and community support – Remorse – Good prospects of rehabilitation

Wetherall
(38)

NSWSC [486]

Patten AJ
18.5.2006

Substantial impairment

Stabbing - domestic

Stress disorder

PG

Minor

3y
NPP 18m

 

Female - Took knife to hotel and stabbed estranged de facto husband – Responding to daughter’s allegation that V sexually assaulted her – V previously accepted possibility he had sexually assaulted daughter on earlier occasion while drunk – Provocation could be taken into account under s.21A(3) – not sufficient to come under s.23

Offender sexually abused by family members during childhood – Stress disorder – Immediate remorse – Mother to two daughters – Good character

Heatley

NSWSC [1199]

Whealy J
21.11.2006

 

NSW CCA [226]
2.10.2008

Substantial impairment

Assault - general

Chronic psychotic disorder

PG
Manslaugh
s.97(2)

Extensive – previously acquitted for AR on basis of mental illness

s.97(2):
FT 4y
Mansl:
14y
NPP 8y

 

Total:
18y
NPP 12y

AD

Prisoner kicked and punched to death cellmate in locked cell – suffering chronic psychotic disorder – unable to control urges – criminality of reasonably high order

Also sentenced for bank robbery – armed with shortened firearm – voluntary disclosure of unknown guilt

R. Sutton

(63)

 

M.Sutton

(60)

 

NSWSC [295]

Barr J
4.4.2007

Substantial impairment

General

Severe depressive disorder

PG

 

 

PG

Nil

 

 

Nil

5y GBB

 

 

5y GBB

 

Parents killed severely disabled 29y son – V suffering blindness, severe mental retardation and restriction of hearing –required surgery to stop brain infection – surgery would cause temporary deafness and reduced quality of life – V difficulty in dealing with changes in life – spontaneous decision brought out of love for son – both offenders suffering major depressive illness brought on by years of stress and commitment to son – mother administered sedative – father killed V – cause of death undisclosed - Severe depressive disorder

Suicide risk – should not be separated

Schoultz
(23)

NSWSC [809]

Barr J

27.7.2007

Substantial impairment

Assault – domestic

Young child

Depressive disorder

PG

Nil

7y
NPP 3y 6m

 

Mother killed 9m daughter – shook baby and head struck against brick fireplace – unable to settle crying child – intent to do GBH – suffering depressive illness and possible other mental conditions exacerbated by cannabis use

Remorse – prior good character

Antaky
(50)

NSWSC [1047]

Hulme J
14.9.2007

Substantial impairment

Fight

Shooting - domestic

Depressive disorder

PG

Nil

8y
NPP 6y

 

Shot brother-in-law during family dispute – V had displayed threatening behaviour toward offender’s parents – offender had “fixed determination” to kill V.

Mawson
(60)

NSWSC [1473]

Adams J
14.12.2007

Substantial impairment

Shooting - general

Post traumatic stress disorder

PG

Minor record

7y
NPP 4y

 

Suffering PTSD from war service in Vietnam and brain damage – V seriously mentally unwell, delusional and dangerous - threatening and abusing offender’s family – coincidental meeting resulted in offender shooting V multiple times – offender’s mental condition affected perception of events and ability to control actions

Remorse

Soon
(71)

NSWSC [622]

Grove J
20.6.2008

Substantial impairment

Arson

Depression

PG

Nil

9y
NPP 5y 6m

 

Female - Set fire to house with estranged husband inside – husband quadriplegic and unable to leave bed – intent to kill – offence committed to prevent husband pursuing property claim in divorce proceedings – well planned offence

Ferguson
(36)

NSWSC [761]

Barr J
25.7.2008

Substantial impairment / provocation

Stabbing - domestic

Major depressive disorder

PG

Nil

7y
NPP 4y

 

Female entered sexual relationship with 22y male – unhappy relationship involving physical abuse, drug abuse and threats to kill – stabbed V during argument – impulsive and sudden offence – element of provocation

Also suffering amphetamine abuse disorder – sexually abused as a child – remorse – prior good character

Podesta
(19)

NSWSC [1204]

McCallum J
14.11.2008

Substantial impairment

Stabbing - domestic

Schizophrenia

VG at murder trial

Assault police – breached bond – minor traffic

8y NPP 5y

 

Mother received prank calls alleging to be from boyfriend suggesting he had infected her with HIV – confronted and argued with boyfriend – stabbed boyfriend multiple times – acting under delusional belief he would be assaulted by V’s associates – previously assaulted by V in home invasion – impaired capacity to judge right from wrong – impaired capacity to control actions

Chaotic and dysfunctional family life

Fisher
(36)

NSWSC [348]

Adams J
24.4.2009

Substantial impairment

Assault - domestic

Brain damage resulting from car accident

PG

Minor assaults

5y 6m
NPP 3y

 

Fatal assault of mother at home – circumstances and motive unknown – Some history of violence against mother when angry or intoxicated – Mother primary carer of offender after car accident caused major brain damage

Remorse limited by mental capacity – difficulty in prison – continued danger to community

Maric
(32)

NSWSC [346]

1.5.2009

Harrison J

Substantial impairment

Shooting - general

Depressive disorder

PG

nil

7y 6m
NPP 5y

 

Shot V - V made threats he would harm A’s family if A did not assist with V’s drug cultivation - immediate surrender and confession to police - A and V knew each other from school days - V well-known as aggressive and intimidating – Continuous intimidation from V - A began to abuse drugs and suffer from depressive disorder - A’s impairment at high end of spectrum – strong connection between A’s depressed mental state and intimidation from V.

Serbian background – wartime memories – no likelihood of reoffending or dangerousness – prior good character – trusted and loyal employee - remorse

Paddock
(78)

NSWSC [369]

Rothman J
21.5.2009

Substantial impairment

Assault - domestic

Paranoia and early dementia

PG

Nil

6y
NPP 4y 3m

 

Suffocated 70y partner preparing to move out – attempted to kill self – mid-range – significant impairment

Zeilaa
(73)

NSWSC [532]

Howie J
12.6.2009

Substantial impairment

Stabbing - domestic

dementia

PG

Nil

4y 10m
NPP 2y 6m

 

Frenzied stabbing of 67y wife during argument over breakdown in relationship

History of verbal and physical abuse

Dowley
(41)

NSWSC [722]

Hidden J
30.7.2009

Substantial impairment

Stabbing - domestic

Paranoid delusional disorder

PG

Disturbing record for violence

11y
NPP 7y

(12m FT – cumulative)

 

Stabbed de facto partner and slit throat – took ice the night before

Drug addiction – not taking medication prior to offence – some insight

White
(21)

NSWSC [809]

Hidden J
20.8.2009

Substantial impairment

Fight

Stabbing - general

Schizophrenia – paranoid delusions

PG

nil

10y
NPP 6y

 

Stabbed male acquaintance in block of residential units during struggle – high level of violence

Long history of schizophrenia – cannabis and alcohol use

Hevesi-Nagy
(52)

NSWSC [956]

11.9.2009
Grove J

Substantial impairment

Stabbing - domestic

Delusional disorder of a persecutory nature substantially impairing capacity for self control

VG
(at murder trial)

nil

10y
NPP 6y

 

Female – With 14y son struck sleeping father of son with tomahawk – son armed with knife – offence planned over extended period - Impairment of self control only – son mentally ill – obsessed with keeping father from normal relationship with son

Good prospects of rehabilitation

Nguyen (No.2)
(29)

NSWSC [1120]

Hoeben J
6.11.2009

Substantial impairment

Assault – domestic

Young child

Severe depression

VG
2 x mansl

nil

6y
NPP 4y

 

Vietnamese mother killed 5y son and 3y daughter – attempted to kill children with rat poison – suffocated both children then took poison herself – made several unsuccessful attempted at suicide - distressed at husband’s infidelity and leaving relationship – severe depression – killings had an element of retribution although primarily altruistic

Genuine remorse

Glanville
(27)

NSWSC [364]

James J
7.5.2010

Substantial impairment / excessive self defence

Assault - domestic

brain damage

VG (at murder trial)

Not significant

6y 8m
NPP 5y

 

Assaulted male acquaintance with baseball bat after V had forced entry into house – both intoxicated having been drinking together earlier – V had been loudly and abusively seeking entry to unit – weakened arm and frontal lobe damage influenced perception of threat – mental functioning so affected as to constitute substantial impairment of the mind - brain damage

Offered to plead guilty to manslaughter – mental health and drug problems

Worrall
(20)

NSWSC [593[

Fullerton J 4.6.2010

Substantial impairment

Stabbing - domestic

Suffering serious hormonal condition requiring constant medication

PG

Nil

6y
NPP 4y 3m

 

Female stabbed 18y sister to death – difficult relationship characterised at times by physical fighting – purchased a knife prior to killing – stabbed sister in neck as she emerged from bathroom

Medication caused obesity affecting self esteem and resulting in poor compliance with medication regime – mood disorder associated with non-compliance with medication prescribed for congenital adrenal hyperplasia

Prior good character - remorse

Cavanagh

NSWSC [670]

Rothman J 25.6.2010

Substantial impairment

Assault - domestic

Depression

VG

nil

9y NPP 5y

 

Strangled mother with extension cord - separated from wife and children – V loaned money to A to assist with keeping his home for children – A’s home transferred into V’s name – relationship between V and A deteriorated – V suffering from early dementia – A suggested they move into separate premises – V responded by saying A and his children could “get out of her house” – A attacked V – brutal killing – approaches worst category but not in worst category.

Major depressive illness from marriage breakdown and access to children – good character – good rehabilitation prospects – remorse.

Mathers

NSWSC [339]

Hall J 28.4.2011

Substantial impairment

General

Depressive illness/adjustment disorder

PG

Nil

2y suspended sentence

 

Assisted V (partner) to commit suicide - ingestion of amitriptyline tablets and final act of suffocation - long relationship of 22 years – V had suffered pain from spinal condition - V expressed wish to die in suicide note – A’s participation would not have been discovered but for A’s disclosures to police.

Only motive was to assist V in carrying out her express intention - no lengthy period of planning or premeditation - culpability at low end of range of sentences for manslaughter - leniency due to disclosures, confession of guilt and plea of guilty

LTN
(29)

NSWSC [614]
Hidden J 17.6.2011

Substantial impairment

Young child

Drowning

Schizoaffective disorder

PG

nil

4y NPP 2y

 

Suffering from schizoaffective disorder – drowned 2y daughter in canal – had been seeking to kill herself as well – impairment of very high order

Good family support – good prospects of rehabilitation

MB
(16)
NSWSC [376]

RS Hulme J
16.12.2011

Substantial impairment

Stabbing – general

Juvenile

Extremely disturbed youth with significant behavioural problems

VG

(at murder trial)

Nil

7y
NPP 4y 6m

 

Walked 3km to V’s house and stabbed him in chest when he answered the door – attempted to cover scene by setting fire to house

Extremely disturbed youth with significant behavioural problems

Difficult background – suffered some physical and emotional abuse –– suicide attempts – cannabis use – suffered some sexual abuse at hands of V over several years – angered at dissension in family home – facilitated administration of justice in conduct of trial – reasonable prospects of rehabilitation

Rees
(27)

NSWSC [922]
Grove AJ 15.8.2012

Substantial impairment

Young child

Drowning

Adjustment disorder / severe depression

VG

nil

5y
NPP 3y 2m

 

Female – drowned 17 month old daughter by leaving in bath – in ongoing destructive cruel relationship with father of child – lack of support - depression and depersonalisation led to actions which couldn't properly assess and control - otherwise a loving exemplary mother.

Good prospects rehabilitation.

Chen

NSWSC [1000]

Schmidt J 29.8.2012

Substantial impairment

Stabbing - domestic

Depressive Disorder

PG
25%

 

6y 9m
NPP 3y 9m

 

Female fed ex-partner soup with sleeping tablets – stabbed sleeping V causing serious injuries to penis and severing arteries – history of emotional manipulation, cruelty towards son and dishonesty – panicked in repose to threats to take son

Pitt
(40)

 

[2012] NSWSC 1549

Latham J

[2014] NSWCCA 70

Substantial Impairment

Fight

Stabbing - domestic

Schizophrenia and persecutory delusions

PG
20%

minor

8y
NPP 6y

AA
5y
NPP 3y

 

 

 

 

V and offender shared offender’s housing commission house – prolonged physical argument where police called on numerous occasions and AVO taken out on behalf of offender – police declined to remove V from house – offender stabbed V in heart

Lengthy history of mental illness - alcohol, persecutory beliefs concerning the actions of the victim, and untreated schizophrenia

McKnight (No.4)
(29)

[2014] NSWSC 1029

Campbell J

Substantial impairment –

Assault

Schizophrenic psychosis.VG
(at murder trial)
Car-jacking, goods in custody.  On bond8y
NPP 6y
Kicked male V in head three times – believed V had stolen money from him – V suffered brain haemorrhage. - Intention to inflict really serious personal injury.
Villalon
(30)

[2014] NSWSC 1261

Price J

Substantial impairment

Stabbing – domestic

SchizophreniaVGnil8y
NPP 5y 6m
Attacked stepfather (V) – V abusive towards A (provocation) – A also concerned about V's inappropriate sexual behaviour towards A's sister – stabbed V and hit over head with hammer.

Provocation by V– remorse – unplanned offence.

Schizophrenia – low risk of re-offending.

Catley
(27)

[2014] NSWCCA 249

Substantial impairment

Stabbing - domestic

Psychotic - depressionVG
(at murder trial)

 

2 x animal cruelty

minor11y
NPP 8y

 

Total:
12y
NPP 9y

ADAssaulted mother and stabbed her twice during argument – killed two cats by slashing throats
F Barbieri
(45)

[2014] NSWSC 1808

Hulme J

Accessory

 

Substantial impairment

 

Stabbing - General

paranoiaPG
(10%)

Mansl

 

Use off weapon to prevent apprehend

 

Sched:
2 offences

nil9y
NPP 6y 6m

 

Total:
10y
NPP 7y 6m

Female lived with 19y son on rural property - Relationship with neighbour became antagonistic – son fired crossbow at workers on neighbour's property – siege developed with police – attacked police with knife and sledgehammer – police officer fatally stabbed by son – mother aware of possibility of infliction of GBH – mother was dominant offender

Son pleaded guilty to murder

Mother suffered serious mental illness causing paranoia and social isolation