Duress by Threats

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1. The threat must be imminent, and operating on the defendant's mind when he commits the offence

  • Age, pregnancy, serious physical disability, recognised mental illness or psychiatric disorder, sex - iQ can not be considered
  • Abdul-Hussain, the defendant's hijacked a plane to escape from persecution in iraq
  • Can use the defence of intoxication, eg if threatened by a man with a gun
  • All crimes except murder, attempted murder and possibly treason
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2. 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

  • Age, pregnancy, serious physical disability, recognised mental illness or psychiatric disorder, sex - iQ can not be considered
  • 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
  • Another person threatens the defendant with serious violence unless the defendant commits an offence
  • Can use the defence of intoxication, eg if threatened by a man with a gun

3. Duress is available for what crimes

  • Another person threatens the defendant with serious violence unless the defendant commits an offence
  • 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

4. The threat must be effective at the moment the crime is committed, but this does not mean that the threats need to be able to be carried out immediatley - this is from the case of

  • Age, pregnancy, serious physical disability, recognised mental illness or psychiatric disorder, sex - iQ can not be considered
  • Can use the defence of intoxication, eg if threatened by a man with a gun
  • Hudson and Taylor, where two girls lied on oath, and the threat could not be carried out immediatley
  • Another person threatens the defendant with serious violence unless the defendant commits an offence

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

  • Can use the defence of intoxication, eg if threatened by a man with a gun
  • He cannot use duress as a mistake in these circumstances is unreasonable
  • 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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