Defences (law)

  • Created by: C6539
  • Created on: 29-12-18 21:23



  • Defendant argues they had no alternative but to commit the crime, because of threat/circumstances.
  • If defendant is successful with this defence it will lead to an aqquital.
  • The test for duress was established in Graham(1982):
  •  1) Did D believe there was a good cause to fear death/serious injury if crime was not commited? 
  • 2) Would a sober person of reasonable firmness have acted in the same way?
  • Valderrama-Vega - Threat of exposure as homosexual and financial pressure is not enough.
  • Abdul-Hussain(1999)- Hijackers thought if they returned to thier country, they would be executed. Threat not imminent but influenced D decision and the defence was successful.
  • The essential requirements for duress was established in Hasan(2005):
  • 1) threat must be death/serious injury
  • 2) The crime was a direct cause of the threats
  • 3) Threat must be directed towards D, Ds family or towards another whose safety D would reasonably regard himself responsible 
  • 4) No reasonable evasive actions (e.g phoning police etc)
  • 5) Both parts in Graham are objective
  • 6) Duress not avaliable if D voluntarily assosicated with criminals 
  • If D is involved with criminals and can reasonably foresee the risk of violence, the defence will fail. Sharpe(1987)
  • Shephard(1987) - No evidence of prior violence before threats, so duress was successful.
  • Even if D is mistaken as to whether there was a threat, defence can still succeed, if D honestly and reasonably believed there was a threat. Conway(1988)
  • Limits of avaliability of duress Hasan(2005):
  • 1) Not avaliable for murder Howe(1987)
  • Not avaliable for attempted murder Gotts (1982)
  • Not avaliable if D is voluntarily involved with criminals Sharpe(1987)
  • The Law Commission have said duress should be avaliable for all defences, however this has not been implemented.

Self Defence:

  • Has two forms, Public and Private.
  • Private defence- D can use this defence if he has used force that was reasonable(in the circumstancesas D believed them to be):
  • A) To protect himself
  • B) To protect another R v Rose
  • C) To protect his/her property R v Hussey
  • D) To protect anothers property
  • Public defence- S3 Criminal Law Act 1967 states that a person may use force that is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, assisting a lawful arrest of offenders/supected offenders/persons unlawfully at large.
  • Under the public defence a person can use force in the following situations:
  • A) To prevent crime/assist in a lawful arrest
  • B) To prevent breach of the peace
  • C) To protect property/prevent tresspass
  • D) To protect himself from unlawful violence
  • E) To protect himself from unlawful detention 
  • Cousins (1982) - "Both defences exist and can be used in conjuction with eachother."
  • Subjective


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