Attempted Murder

The offence of attempted murder is outlined in section 239(1) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of attempted murder when they intend to commit murder and they do or omit to do anything to carry out this intention.


Person A plans to kill person B by stabbing them in the neck, but they only manage to graze person B’s neck before person B escapes, and person B makes a full recovery from this injury.

Person C gets into a verbal argument with person D. Person C gets a gun from his vehicle and shoots person D in the stomach. Person C eventually recovers from the attack.


R. v. Reed, 2022 ONSC 2159

In R. v. Reed, the accused was charged with one count of attempted murder when he told the victim he would kill him and then chased the victim down the street while slashing at him and stabbing him until the situation was noticed by a police officer.

R. v. Kormendy, 2017 ONSC 6426

In R. v. Kormendy, the accused was charged with three counts of attempted murder when he lit the gasoline that he had poured on his sleeping girlfriend’s bed and around her house after she asked him to move out. He waited outside as the fire grew and eventually rescued the younger daughter when he realized that the girlfriend and older daughter had escaped the fire.

Offence Specific defence(s)

Not Trying to Murder

Where the person is not trying to cause the death of another person, but merely to harm them or scare them, they may not have completed the offence of attempted murder.

No Action or Omission

Where the person does intend to kill the other but does not do or omit to do anything to carry out this intention, they may not have completed the offence of attempted murder.

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