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Criminal | Defences

Self-Defence & Crime Prevention: Criteria

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Self Defence & Crime Prevention

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  • common law developed concept reasonable self defence / private defence
  • statute covering crime prevention / public defence (S3 Criminal Law Act 1967)

Necessity of Force:

  • general principle / use of force not justified / necessity is a jury decision

Genuine Belief:

  • can be found necessary / if seen to be so in the situation that exists / or that D believes exists
  • D saw man struggling with a youth / youth calling for help / D intervened / in fact the man was lawfully arresting youth / D not guilty of assault (Gladstone Williams)
  • statutory basis for defence / Ds genuinely hold a mistaken belief (Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008) / not necessarily if D voluntarily intoxicated (S5)

Pre Emptive Action:

  • can apply to imminent attack / Lord Griffiths: .. a man about to be attacked does not have to wait for his assailant to strike the first blow, or fire the first shot, circumstances may justify a pre-emptive strike... (Beckford)
  • withdrawing or unwillingness to fight / evidence D acting reasonably & in self defence / no absolute obligation to retreat (Bird)
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Self Defence & Crime Prevention

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Reasonableness of Force:

  • Lord Morris: .. it is both good law and good sense that a man who is attacked may defend himself... he may do, but may only do what is reasonably necessary... (Palmer) / unreasonable force may not be used (Martin)
  • jury decision / if force used was reasonable
  • D soldier at checkpoint / D shot at speeding stolen car / evidence proved V killed by shot fired once car had passed / no argument for self defence / D's conviction for murder upheld on appeal (Clegg)
  • someone under attack / under stress / may not reason precisely (S76 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008)
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