overview of the topic with the main cases and information, ready for section A or B.the problems and reforms are secton A only.

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  • Created on: 25-05-12 16:52


duress is a defence based on the fact that D has been forced to commit the crime through a direct threat or by duress of circumstance.

The defence cannot be used for murder or attempted murder, made clear in the case of Howe. it includes all party sof a murder including third partys.

The rule in Howe applies to defendents of all ages, showign unfairness in the case of Wilson when a boy was charged with murder of his mother.

In Howe, it was stated in the obiter dicta that it was no defence to attempts. This is highlighted in Gotts when d was charged for stabbing his mother to escape violence from the father.

a direct threat is when a person is overborne and commits an act that he would not normally do. It must be of serious injury or death.

Any lesser threats do not amount to duress, however in valderma Vega, the cumlative effects of threats can be considered, shown when D  importated cocaine in order to escape threats of his homosexuality aswell as a death threat.

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In the case of Martin, threats to family members was allowed under the duress defence.

The jury must decide if D was compelled to act due to a genueine belief and a sober person woudl respond the same. These were laid out in Graham when D helped kill his wife becuase he feared another man. Chrecteristics must be considered.

in another case, Martin. D was sufferign from a medical state, magnifying all situations. The defence was allowed as this medical condition must be considered.

In the case of Bowen, it was held that pregnancy, gender, iq and disability can all cannot  be considered when looking at duress.

duress can only be used if there is no safe avenue if escape. In hudson and taylor, girls where threatened to lie under oath, it was accepted that police protection is not always possible.

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If the siuation is bought on by D's owns action such as in Sharp when D joined a criminal gang, then there is no defence of duress.

if the defendent reasonly perceived a threat of danger or injury then teh defence is available. In the case of cains when V jumped on D's car bonnet, adn then dragged under the car. D's conviction was quashed.

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1) No defence to murder. This was decieded in Howe and is unfair to children in cases such as Gotts who have no choice.

2) In bowen it was clear that low iq canotbe considered, howver this is a highly contributing factor to a crime and can lead to unfair cases.

3) Police protection is a problem as it was allowed in the case of Hudson and Taylor but can lead to questtionable results such as those in the case of Hassan.

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The Law Commision in teh report Murder, Manslaughter and Infanticide belived it should be exteneded to be a defence for murder.Removign the problems in Wilson and Gotts.

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Megan (moderator)


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