Duress by Threats

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1. Duress by threats is where

  • Can use the defence of intoxication, eg if threatened by a man with a gun
  • Another person threatens the defendant with serious violence unless the defendant commits an offence
  • All crimes except murder, attempted murder and possibly treason
  • Age, pregnancy, serious physical disability, recognised mental illness or psychiatric disorder, sex - iQ can not be considered
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2. There is a subjective and objective test laid down in the case of Graham to decide if

  • The defence should succeed
  • Age, pregnancy, serious physical disability, recognised mental illness or psychiatric disorder, sex - iQ can not be considered
  • All crimes except murder, attempted murder and possibly treason
  • Can use the defence of intoxication, eg if threatened by a man with a gun

3. In the case of Hassan

  • Can use the defence of intoxication, eg if threatened by a man with a gun
  • If the threat was not reasonably expected to be carried out immediately or almost immediately then there was little room for doubt that the defendant could have taken evasive action by going to the police
  • All crimes except murder, attempted murder and possibly treason
  • Age, pregnancy, serious physical disability, recognised mental illness or psychiatric disorder, sex - iQ can not be considered

4. If the defendant becomes voluntarily intoxicated, and mistakenly believes he is being threatened

  • Age, pregnancy, serious physical disability, recognised mental illness or psychiatric disorder, sex - iQ can not be considered
  • All crimes except murder, attempted murder and possibly treason
  • He cannot use duress as a mistake in these circumstances is unreasonable
  • Can use the defence of intoxication, eg if threatened by a man with a gun

5. The threats must be of death or serious injury, lesser threats do not provide a defence - however provided there are serious threats then the cumulative effect of the threats can be considered as decided in the case of

  • Another person threatens the defendant with serious violence unless the defendant commits an offence
  • Valderrama-Vega - the defendant illegally imported cocaine, he claimed he did this because of death threats and threats to disclose his homosexuality and financial pressures
  • Can use the defence of intoxication, eg if threatened by a man with a gun
  • Age, pregnancy, serious physical disability, recognised mental illness or psychiatric disorder, sex - iQ can not be considered

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