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Defences: Mistake, Necessity, Self-Defence and Duress
Case law for criminal defence of mistake, necessity, self-defence and duress
19
Law
05/05/2013

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Term
Esop
Definition
Ignorance of the law is no excuse
Term
Tolson
Definition
If D makes a mistake in relation to element AR requiring negligence, in order to deprive necessary MR, mistake must be honest and reasonable
Term
DPP v Morgan
Definition
Honestly held mistake negates liability for acts that require intention of subjective recklessness
Term
Hasan
Definition
Two limbs in test for duress and mistake: that the defendant acted out of a reasonable fear that X would kill or cause serious injury to D or someone he knows. The objective limb is whether a reasonable person in his position would have responded in the same way.
Term
Williams (Gladstone)
Definition
Provided D's mistake was honestly held, it is immaterial that the mistake was not reasonable.
Term
Scarlett
Definition
If the defendant honestly believed that the degree of force used in defence was necessary, he could not be convicted even if his belief was unreasonable.
Term
Palmer
Definition
Whether or not D's use of force is reasonable hinges on an objective view as to whether or not D subjectively thought that his use of force was necessary
Term
AG's Reference No 2
Definition
May take pre-emptive action to prevent an anticipated attack
Term
Beckford
Definition
Pre-emptive attack must be for an imminent threat
Term
Bird
Definition
There is no duty to retreat from a threat
Term
Howe
Definition
Duress will not be available for a charge of murder or attempted murder
Term
Gotts
Definition
Duress not available for attempted murder
Term
Lynch
Definition
Duress available for aiding and abetting murder
Term
Cole
Definition
Must be a connection between threat and unlawful act. "Do it or else!"
Term
Bell
Definition
Duress of circumstances (drove drunk to escape a gang of thieves)
Term
Dudley and Stephens
Definition
Necessity is no defence to murder
Term
Gillick (doctor giving child birth control)
Definition
Belief that an action was necessary would negate mens rea when it comes to aiding and abetting a minor to have unlawful intercourse through prescribing birth control.
Term
Re A (conjoined twins)
Definition
Necessity can be a defence to murder. The act needed must be to avoid inevitable evil. Response must be proportionate. The evil done must not be disproportionate to the evil avoided.
Term
R (on application of Nicklinson)
Definition
Restricted the use of the defence of necessity