Calling Aus lawyers: Judy Moran's verdict.

Bit of a general question here regarding the law as it applies in Australia. Judy Moran was today found guilty of murdering her BIL Des (Tuppence) Moran. I’m in no way doubting her involvement in the crime, but was under the impression that she had organised others to do the dirty deed so that she had an alibi for the murder.

IOW, can she be found guilty of a crime that she did not actually commit? Or rather, she did not shoot the gun that killed Des, even though she was responsible for setting up the scene for the killing to happen. I was always under the impression that such crimes attracted the** ‘conspiracy to murder’** charge rather than ‘murder’ itself.

Can you legal boffins enlighten me here please?

Fanks ever so much

Missus Moran :smiley:

Nah, it’s kam here…no relation whatsoever to the Moron family. :stuck_out_tongue:

It sounds like from what I’ve read in that article that she and the other person were in a joint criminal exercise…in other words, that Moran drove the guy who shot her brother in law to the place where he was shot. In other words, she aided the person who pulled the trigger in committing the crime. Therefore, she’s legally as responsible for the murder as the person who actually pulled the trigger.

This is New South Wales and not Victoria, but the legal principles are the same, so read this from the Criminal Trial Courts Bench Book.

Not a lawyer, though for what it’s worth I live about ten minutes walk away from site of the murder in question, and walked past it today on my way to buy bok choi…

My understanding of Australian murder law is that anyone and everyone involved in a murder can be charged with murder. It’s the same crime (and theoretically the same punishment) whether you personally pulled the trigger or not.

Is the law different in the US? Surely someone who masterminds a murder is guilty of murder? How could you come to any other conclusion?

Ahh, Melbourne … world’s most livable city, just keeps on delivering.

“You’ll love every piece of Victoria”, mainly 'cause a lot of the pieces are buried in very scenic spots.

Of course it’s that way in the USA. John Gotti was convicted of 13 counts of murder (among many other things) even though he wasn’t actually present for any of them. Ordering them was enough.

Note that the OP is Australian BTW, so she’s asking about her own laws.

Charles Manson never actually murdered anyone, either.

Instigate is the word. The crime would not have occurred without the original act.

“Conspiracy to commit murder,” IIRC, is a charge normally used when there hasn’t actually been a murder committed, just planning and concrete steps toward it. Killing someone and hiring it done are both murder, plain and simple.

Ahh, thank you for fighting my ignorance Dopers.
Oh, and penultima thule, you’re just jealous. :smiley:

I’ve watched every episode of Prisoner (Prisoner: Cell Block H), so I know all about Australian law :smiley:

Anyway on the show, which is horribly unreliable, they charged a few people with “inciting a murder”

There are all sorts of ways one can be guilty of murder without pulling the trigger. The principle is sometimes called ancillary responsibility, or being a party to the murder, or complicity. Means the same thing. Fancy terms such as accessory before the fact, principle in the first and/or second degree, etc, have been invented to categorise these things, but they don’t matter a whole lot.

Victoria is a common law state (as opposed to a jurisdiction like Queensland, WA and the NT which have codified the criminal law).

If you counsel or procure someone to kill someone else, you are guilty of murder (as in the Moran case).

If you aid someone else (as in two people having at a third with cutlasses so that you can’t tell who delivered the killing blow) each can be guilty of murder. Similarly if one person ties another up so a third can kill them, and so on.

If you join in a plan (such as robbing a bank where someone other than you is armed with a loaded shotgun) so that a probable consequence of the plan is that someone will get murdered in the event of, say, resistance, then all are guilty of murder.

Of course it is vastly more complicated than this, with the mens rea element and the felony murder rule playing a difficult role in these scenarios, and the above is a substantial oversimplification which contains unavoidable errors of compression, but you get the idea.

Crimes Act 1958 - SECT 323
Abettors in indictable offences triable as principal offenders

  1. Abettors in indictable offences triable as principal offenders

A person who aids, abets, counsels or procures the commission of an indictable
offence may be tried or indicted and** punished as a principal offender.**
(2) Abettors in offences punishable summarily
This is the interesting bit of the Crimes Act (1958) VIC.

So what everybody else said.


This is my favorite bit of the Crimes Act

Crimes Act 1958 - SECT 322A

Maintenance and certain other offences abolished

322A. Maintenance and certain other offences abolished

Any distinct offences under the common law of maintenance (including champerty
but not embracery), or of being a common barrator, a common scold or a common
night walker are hereby abolished.

Good riddance to bad rubbish. is it smart to lust after money and then to kill the only person who knows where it is hidden?

Yep she played an active part in the murder, so she is guilty of murder in Australia. Just like hiring a hit man is the same as pulling the trigger.

Is it smart?

Interesting question as a matter of game theory. Let’s suppose Judy Moran was in the business of crime regularly, so that this attempt to get her brother in law to tell where the money was hidden was not a one-off occurrence, but could occur routinely when she needed to demand money from people.

The obvious strategy of a person who knows where the money is is to shut up, knowing that she can’t kill you while you keep stumm, because then she will never find the cash.

But from her perspective, it might well be worthwhile to kill people in that position of apparent safety from time to time just “to encourage the others”. That way, balancing the risk of her killing you before you tell as opposed to killing you after you tell has less of an obvious solution - my safety in shutting up is less clear, and against that, she still might not kill me even if I do tell.

A bit like Nixon’s Mad Dog theory, you occasionally have to do things that are irrational in the short term in order to wrongfoot the other side to negotiations.

I guess the tipping point is something only she knows because only she knows her business and how much this particular sum of money meant to her.