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Self - Defence and the Prevention of Crime

Public and Private Defences - Self -Defence and the Prevention of Crime

Public and private defences entail the defences of self-defence and prevention of crime under the Criminal Law act of 1967 and the protection of property which is governed under the Criminal Damage Act 1971. Essentially, in some circumstances, it is understood through law that it is lawful to use reasonable force. In this sense, these defences negate all elements of the actus reus of the crime. For both self-defence and the prevention of crime, the requirements are the same. Under section 3 of the Criminal Law Act of 1967, it states that a person may use such force that is necessary or reasonable in the prevention of a crime. The burden of proof is reliant on the prosecution to establish and at what level of force is lawful or excessive.

Reasonable force

Reasonable force is covered under section 76 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act of 2008. It applies where a person is using self-defence or preventing a crime. It contains both subjective and objective elements.

Subjective Element:

The degree of force used by the defendant is determined by whether or not it was reasonable in the circumstances as stated in section 76(3) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act of 2008. Section 76(6) provides the degree of force that is not regarded as reasonable in the circumstance if it was disproportionate to the circumstances.

Objective Element:

As the question of reasonable force is decided by reference to the circumstances the defendant believed them to be, the level of force is decided objectively.

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