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Critically examine the weight of the arguements both for and against the reinstatement of the defence of Duress for a charge of Murder.

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  • Essay length: 863 words
  • Submitted: 11/07/2002
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GCSE Law

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Critically examine the weight of the arguements both for and against the reinstatement of the defence of Duress for a charge of Murder.

For many years the common law has recognised a defence of duress per minas (threats through a third party). The defendant is excused liability for particular crimes due to the fact that he was forced by some third party to choose between either committing the criminal offence specified by that third party or facing that third party's threat of grievous bodily harm or death if his demands are not met.

Though the defendant does not have to prove duress, s/he must adduce evidence sufficient to raise the issue in order for it to be left to the jury. The burden of disproving it beyond reasonable doubt rests on the prosecution. The standard test for duress was layed out in the case of R v Graham (1982) ER 801 (CA), where it was thought that there should be an objective element in the requirements of the defenceso that in the final eventit will be for the jury to determine whether the threat was one which the defendant in question could not reasonably have been expected

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