Duress by threats

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  • Duress (Duress by threats
    • definition
      • D is forced to commit a crime because a threat of death or serious injury effectively deprives them of a choice whether to act
      • available to all crimes except murder
        • Howe (1987) - one of a group who abused and killed man. on later occasion D abused and killed man. Said he acted because he was threatened
          • HL ruled that defence was not available to anyone charged with murder, even if they were a secondary party and had not done killing themselves
        • Wilson (2007) - CA ruled that the rule of duress not available for murder even applies when D is young and less able to resist pressures
        • Gotts (1992) - aged 16 and threatened with violence by dad so stabbed mum
          • CA decided defence not available for attempted murder
    • what if the belief in a threat comes as a result of intoxication?
      • a mistake due to voluntary intoxication negates the defence
      • if there is no mistake and the intoxication does not affect whether there is duress or not the defence can still succeed
    • what if the duress is self-induced?
      • usually this negates the defence
      • courts have shown some flexibility
      • Sharp (1987) - joined robbery gang, and tried to leave before sub-postmaster killed in robbery
        • no defence as knew gang were likely to use violence
      • Shepherd (1987) - joined shoplifting gang, threatened with violence when tried to leave
        • conviction quashed as no knowledge gang were likely to use violence
      • Hasan (2005) - no defence as D associated with drug dealer
        • ought to have reasonably foreseen risk of compulsion by threats of violence


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