Under Section 2 of the Offences against the Person Ordinance (Cap. 212), any person who is convicted of murder shall be imprisoned for life. However, if a person convicted of murder was under 18 years of age at the time of the offence, the court has a discretion as to whether the person should be sentenced to imprisonment for life or to imprisonment for a shorter term. Section 7 provides that any person who is convicted of manslaughter shall be liable to imprisonment for life and to pay such fine as the court may award.
Generally speaking, the distinction between murder and manslaughter is as follows:
To constitute murder, there must be an act causing death coupled with an intention to kill or to cause grievous bodily harm. It is a premeditated act.
Manslaughter could be classified as voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter is where all the elements of murder are present but liability may be reduced in certain circumstances (such as provocation, diminished responsibility or suicide pact). Involuntary manslaughter is a killing committed in the absence of malice, but is a (a) killing during an unlawful AND dangerous act or (b) killing by gross negligence involving breach of duty or recklessness