01/05 Lecture 16: The Interpretation Act – past and future 2
In New Zealand homicide is the killing of one human being by
another human being.
Murder requires proof of premeditated intent (s 167, s168) has a
Manslaughter is an unlawful act which results in death, without
intent for the other to die: (s 171) has a sentence of non-
custodial, to life.
Allows the judge much more leeway in looking at the
background and situation, in order to administer a punishment
which is proportional to the crime.
Exception to this is infanticide (s 178), which has a 3 year
maximum penalty. Where a woman causes the death to a child
of hers, and that at the time her mind was not her own in one of
Stress of childbirth or lactation
Social attitudes: slightly less heinous crime for several
Other jurisdictions (UK): look at legislation surrounding
the same topic- the Judge does this here.
Royal Commission Report
Legislative future (the Crimes Bill)
Other statutes on analogous subjects
Section 5(j) Acts Interpretation Act 1924
In the days that illegitimate children were regarded as “fillius
nullus”, infanticide was not considered by society to be nearly as
bad as the murder of an adult by another adult.
Influenced by the law in UK
In 1961, Infanticide was introduced to NZ jurisdiction, with a
broader view than the UK version (up to the age of 10, not 1
year), and at the same time we rid murder of the death penalty.
Public revulsion at the conviction of a mother for the death of
her child. Children died quite often, due to illness, injury,
accidents etc. something which has become much less common
these days. There are now considerable expressions of unease that we
should still have infanticide when we know that childbirth puts
much stress on a mother and there is often mental illness
surrounding this period.
CRIMES ACT 1961
178 Infanticide- (1) Where a woman causes the death of any child of hers
under the age of 10 years in a manner that amounts to culpable homicide,
and at the time of the of