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Duress

Duress is a complete defence to a criminal charge which means it leads to a verdict of ‘not guilty’ your actions were committed under duress if:

  1. You received a threat of death or serious injury to yourself, a member of your family or another person you might reasonably feel responsible for
  2. The threat was of such a nature that a person of ordinary strength and will, of the same sex and strength as you would have yielded to it, and
  3. Would as a result have committed the offence

To rely on the defence, there must be evidence before the court that is capable of supporting a reasonable inference you acted under duress.

Once that evidence is before the court, the prosecution must disprove duress ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.

If it is unable to do so, you are entitled to an acquittal.

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