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Criminal LawText, Cases, and Materials

Criminal Law: Text, Cases, and Materials (10th edn)

Jonathan Herring
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date: 28 November 2023

p. 62612. Defenceslocked

p. 62612. Defenceslocked

  • Jonathan HerringJonathan HerringProfessor of Law, Exeter College, Oxford


This chapter begins with a discussion of the law on defences. Even though the prosecution may have proved the mens rea and actus reus of the offence, a defendant may still be able to escape conviction if they can successfully raise a defence. The chapter covers private defence and the prevention of crime; necessity; chastisement; consent; duress; coercion; entrapment; superior orders; automatism; insanity; diminished responsibility; loss of control; intoxication; and mistake. The second part of the chapter focuses on the theory of defences, covering the definition of defences; justifications and excuses; character, choice, and capacity; determinism; the rejection of an overarching theory; insanity; private defence; duress; necessity; and issues that fall between the gaps of the defences.

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