There is never a dull moment in the practice of criminal law – and the situations that people find themselves in never cease to amaze.
Read on to find out about some of the more unusual defences used successfully in court.
Man accidently trips and falls into woman’s vagina
46-year-old London businessman Ehsan Abdulaziz was charged with sexually assaulting an 18-year-old after she awoke to find herself being penetrated on his couch.
The woman said that she and a 24-year-old woman had met the man at an exclusive nightclub, before having several drinks and going home with him.
The man admitted to having sex with the 24-year-old at his home, explaining that his penis may have been poking out of his underwear when he later tripped and fell onto the 18-year-old, which accounted for the presence of semen on her vagina. He stated:
“I’m fragile, I fell down but nothing ever happened, between me and this girl nothing ever happened.”
He was acquitted after the jury deliberated for just half an hour.
Beating a murder charge by being able to read
This defence may sound strange to modern ears, but being a member of the clergy could be a very valuable way to avoid harsh punishment for all kinds of offences. In Medieval England, clergymen could not be tried in secular courts (ie regular, non-religious courts), and they could invoke this handy immunity for just about every offence, including murder.
Interestingly, all that was required to take advantage of this defence – known as ‘benefit of the clergy’ – was having some link to the church and being able to read. In practice, this meant that all church officials with the ability to read a few pages of a religious text could get off scot-free.
The identical twin defence
Being an identical twin is a great tool when it comes to playing practical jokes – but in one case, having an identical twin potentially saved a Malaysian man’s life.
Drug trafficking in Malaysia comes with a heavy penalty – execution. So it’s no surprise that 27-year-old defendants Sathis Raj and identical twin brother Sabarish Rajwere were keen to avoid a conviction.
Police arrested one of the twins while he was parking a car outside his house. They found over 1.7kg of opium and 166kg of cannabis in the boot of the car and inside the house.
The twin was arrested, and when the second twin also showed up some time later, he was arrested also.
But police were unable to say who they arrested first – and only the first twin had keys to the house. The judge said “it is clear that the first twin who was caught was the only one who had access to the house. Therefore, it is impossible for him not to know what was inside the bags.”
Each brother pointed the finger at the other – and the Judge dismissed the case, stating she didn’t want to send the wrong person to the gallows.
Of course, in order to pull off this defence, it is essential that you have an identical twin and that police fail to immediately ascertain identity.
And the ‘identical twin defence’ certainly doesn’t always work, especially given that the fingerprints of identical twins are never exactly the same. In one case, a man whose driver licence was suspended thought he could beat the system by using his twin brother’s licence. But police were one step ahead, fingerprinting the man after he was pulled over. Sure enough, the fingerprints revealed the true identity of the driver.
If you’ve been charged with an offence, it’s best to get advice from an expert. An experienced criminal defence lawyer will be able to advise you of any defences that may be available to you, conventional or otherwise!