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Necessity

Necessity is a complete defence to a criminal charge which means it leads to a verdict of ‘not guilty’.

You acted out of necessity if:

  1. You honestly believed on reasonable grounds that you or someone you were ‘bound to protect’ was in a ‘situation of imminent peril’ meaning you or they faced immediate death or serious injury
  2. Your actions were undertaken to prevent that ‘imminent peril’, and
  3. Your actions were reasonable and proportionate to prevent or avoid that ‘imminent peril’

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

Once that evidence is before the court, the prosecution must disprove necessity ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ if it is unable to do so, you are entitled to an acquittal.

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