8.1.3 – Checklist: Statutory Self-Defence

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[This checklist can be used if there is evidence from which a jury might infer that the accused was acting in self-defence when s/he committed any offence on or after 1 November 2014.

The checklist is designed for use where it is alleged that the accused believed it was necessary to do what s/he did to defend him/herself. It will need to be modified if it is alleged that the accused was acting in defence of another, in defence of property, or to prevent or terminate the unlawful deprivation of liberty.

It is designed to be used together with a checklist outlining the elements of the relevant offence. Details of that offence will need to be inserted in the appropriate places.]

In addition to proving all of the elements of [insert offence], the prosecution must also prove that the accused did not act in self-defence. This requires the prosecution to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that when the acts said to constitute the offence were committed, either:

  1. The accused did not believe that it was necessary to do what s/he did to defend him/herself; or
  2. The accused’s conduct was not a reasonable response in the circumstances as s/he perceived them.

Belief in Necessity

1. Has the prosecution proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that the accused did not believe that it was necessary to do what s/he did to defend him/herself, at the time s/he committed the relevant acts?

Consider – What were the circumstances as perceived by the accused?

If Yes, then the accused is guilty of [insert offence]

(as long as you are satisfied that the prosecution has also proven

all of the elements of that offence beyond reasonable doubt)

If No, then go to Question 2

Reasonable Response in the Circumstances

2. Has the prosecution proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that the accused’s conduct was not a reasonable response in the circumstances as NOA perceived them?

Consider – What were the circumstances as perceived by the accused?

If Yes, then the accused is guilty of [insert offence]

(as long as you are satisfied that the prosecution has also proven

all of the elements of that offence beyond reasonable doubt)

If No, then the accused acted in self-defence and is not guilty of

[insert offence] (as long as you also answered No to Question 1)

Last updated: 1 November 2014 

 

 

 

 

See Also

8.1 - Statutory Self-Defence (From 1/11/14)

8.1.1 - Preliminary Directions: Self-Defence in the Context of Family Violence (Jury Directions Act 2015 ss59, 60)

8.1.2 - Charge: Statutory Self-Defence