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Chapter

Cover Criminal Law Directions

14. Defences II: general defences  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. Questions, diagrams, and exercises help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress. This chapter explores the remaining general defences: self-defence, protection of another, and the prevention of crime, duress, duress of circumstances, and necessity. A defendant may rely on self-defence where he honestly believes that use of force is necessary in order to protect him and the force used is reasonable. The issue of duress arises where the defendant is threatened that he must commit a criminal offence or suffer physical injury or injury to his family. Duress excuses a defendant’s behaviour as a concession to human frailty, whereas necessity justifies it. Necessity does not require a threat made by a person of death or physical injury, but merely a choice between two evils.

Chapter

Cover Complete Criminal Law

8. Non-fatal offences against the person  

This chapter discusses the provisions of criminal law for non-fatal offences against the person in England and Wales, which include assault, battery, malicious wounding, grievous bodily harm, and racially and religiously aggravated assaults. It examines the distinctions between these major offences against the person and discusses their actus reus and mens rea elements. The chapter evaluates the use of consent and lawful chastisement in legal defence, analyses the relevant provisions of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and the offences of coercive control and strangulation, and reviews recent reform proposals. It also provides examples of related cases and comments on the bases of court decisions on each of them.