The Learning & Resource Section

Defence of Mistake

If a defendant commits a crime under mistaken belief, the defence of mistake may be an option. When a defendant is mistaken, that mistake may prevent them from forming the mens rea which in a sense abstains the defendant from liability. ( R v Tolson) Most often, when a defendant claims a defence of mistake, it is usually in conjunction with intoxication ( R v Fotheringham) or self-defence ( R v Gladstone Williams), or both. A mistake must be honest ( DPP v Morgan) and must not be a mistake of law which will never suffice as a defence since ignorance of the law is no excuse. ( R v Lee)

DPP v Morgan (1975)
DPP v Morgan (1975)
The Defendant said to his friends that they could have sex with his wife. He said that she was willing but might pretend to be reluctant for her own p

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