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(p. 375) 14. Defences II: general defences 

(p. 375) 14. Defences II: general defences
Chapter:
(p. 375) 14. Defences II: general defences
Author(s):

Nicola Monaghan

DOI:
10.1093/he/9780198753278.003.0014
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date: 20 October 2019

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 and the prevention of crime, duress, necessity, duress of circumstances, and marital coercion. A defendant will be able to rely on self-defence where he honestly believes that the use of force is necessary in order to protect him and he uses reasonable force to do so. 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 (e.g. ‘commit theft or else’). Necessity differs from duress as 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. Marital coercion is a defence under s.47 of the Criminal Justice Act 1925, which provides that a woman who commits an offence in the presence of her husband and under his coercion has a defence.

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