• Accused cannot perform the Mens Rea of the offence or is not fit to stand trial.
To Prove Insanity you must:
• Prove an illness/a disease of the mind
• Prove the illness made them unable to understand the nature of their actions
• The Accused proves insanity, not the Crown
• Person not guilty because of insanity = mental institution (then released when not insane or indefinite confinement)
• Unconscious and involuntary behaviour (i.e. sleepwalking, amnesia)
• No Mens Rea
• When someone is influenced by alcohol or drugs
• Voluntary intoxication is not a defence
• Allowed in General Intent cases; where the accused intended the to commit a criminal offence but not all the harm that resulted – assault and manslaughter
• Not accepted for Specific Intent; where the accused needs to have intended the crime – murder, theft, robbery.
Duress or Compulsion
• Someone is forced to commit an offence
• The person under duress (illegal coercion usually through being threatened or the use of violence) must be present when the offence is committed
• They must believe that the threat will be carried out
Self Defense and Defense of Property
• To protect yourself, anyone under your protection, moveable property, your dwelling, and real property
• May only use reasonable force to either prevent the assault or its repetition
• Accused claims not to be present at the time of the offence
• Evidence or proof must be presented demonstrating that the accused was somewhere else
• One is justified in breaking the law if they avoid a greater harm or achieve a greater good
• Examples: Self-defense and duress
Mistake of Fact
• When there is an honest mistake regarding circumstances (i.e. not knowing that it is marijuana); no Mens Rea
• Mistake of law is not a defense in some cases (i.e. not knowing possession of marijuana is illegal)
Mistake of Law/Officially Induced Error
• Following the instructions of an official which violates the law
• Something causes another person to lose his/her self control (i.e. an act or an insult)
• Can reduce the charge but does not negate the offence. (e.g. murder to manslaughter)
• Accepted if the accused can demonstrate that they were “set-up” or trapped into doing something they otherwise would not have done.
• In order to promote justice and fairness society will not charge a person with the same crime twice.
• Cases can be appealed but once the appeal process has been exhausted then the case is finished.
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