Being charged with a crime can seriously mess up your life. Consulting a solicitor who specializes in criminal defense may prevent the charges against you from being filed. Making the wrong choice can have a devastating effect on the outcome.
Crimes in England and Wales are considered to be crimes against the whole of the community. There are two fundamental elements of criminal law. One such element is mens rea, which means ‘guilty mind’, or a conscious intent to commit an offence. The other element is actus reus, meaning ‘guilty act’, in Latin. This refers to the act of committing a crime.
There are certain formal responses to an accusation that may be used in defence. These are self-defence, mistake, automatism and insanity. These apply to any criminal charge. Other responses may be used in certain crimes but not others. These are involuntary intoxication, duress and marital coercion.
Duress and necessity may be used as defensive strategies in some crimes but not others. They may not be used in murder cases, attempted murder and some types of treason. The term, ‘duress’, refers to the situation where a person commits a crime because they are being subjected to a threat, to violence or some other form of pressure. In other words, duress can be defined as the use of any threat or unlawful coercion.
A plea of marital coercion applicable to Northern Ireland and England. There must be proof that the couple were legally married at the time the crime was committed and that the husband was present. It cannot be used in civil partnerships. It is not necessary for violence to have been a threat. It is insufficient to say that the wife acted out of loyalty to her husband.
Some strategies may be used to reduce a charge from murder to a less serious crime. Diminished responsibility and infanticide are two examples. Diminished responsibility is used when it can be proven that the defendant was suffering from an abnormality of the mind that substantially impaired his mental responsibility at the time when he killed someone. This allows the judge to sentence the defendant to hospital treatment instead of punishment by incarceration.
The term, ‘infanticide’, refers to the homicide of an infant. It often happens within 24 hours of the birth of the baby and it is frequently the mother who is the culprit. The Infanticide Act of 1938 defines an infant as a baby under the age of twelve months. It applies to the mother and makes allowance for the situation that she may be suffering mental imbalance as a result of not having recovered from giving birth/lactating. As with diminished responsibility, it allows the judge to impose a more appropriate and humane sentence.
This is not intended to be used as legal advice. If you find yourself in a situation where you have been charged with an offence, it is essential to seek legal counsel at the earliest opportunity. Find best criminal lawyer Toronto who is experienced in criminal defence.
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