Self Defence

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Self Defence covers...
not only defending oneself but actions taken to defend another.
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Self Defence is...
A common law defence which justifies D's actions
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s3 (1) of Criminal Law Act 1967
'a person may use such force as reasonable in the circumstances in prevention of crime'
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Amount of Force used (CJA s76)
person acting for legit purpose may not be able to weigh the exact measure of any necessary action. Evidence of D having done what they honestly and instinctively thought gives evidence that reasonable action was taken.
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Force used for retaliation or revenge
defence is not available
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Hussain and another (2010)
if the attack is over and D is running away, unlikely that force is necessary
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Crime and Courts Act 2013
amended self defence part to give householders wider defence when an intruder enters. Degree of force will not be regarded as reasonable only where it was GROSSLY DISPROPORTIONATE
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D must be judged on the facts..
as the genuinely believed them to be
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ruled that D should be judged according to the genuine mistaken view of the facts
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Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 makes it clear that...
D cannot rely on a mistaken belief if D was voluntarily intoxicated
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D is not under a duty to retreat when acting for a legitimate purpose.
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Could they retreat?
This is a matter for the jury and is a factor in deciding whether force was necessary or not
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basis of facts they unreasonably believed to be true
is this too generous? If defence is not offered to someone who unreasonably believed-may get imprisonment unfair. However what about victims rights?
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Waiting until the attack
Law states it is to prevent force. Not necessary for the attack to have started AG's reference 1984
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Using excessive force
cannot use self defence as a defence. If it is something like murder must be given life sentence Martin (2002)
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The defence is seen as a...
All or nothing defence-you are guilty or not guilty, no in-between. Should it be made into a partial defence?
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D's characteristics
These can be taken into account when deciding if D needed to defend himself.
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Martin (2002), Cairns (2005) followed Martin but said psychiatric injury does not need to be taken into account. Oye (2013) followed these.
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Mental Illness
Should not be taken into account-policy objections, public could be put at risk, with self defence the courts would not be able to make a hospital order.
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Card 2


Self Defence is...


A common law defence which justifies D's actions

Card 3


s3 (1) of Criminal Law Act 1967


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Card 4


Amount of Force used (CJA s76)


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Card 5


Force used for retaliation or revenge


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