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The ins and outs of defense acts for different kinds of offences

According to law, defense acts are performed for saving the accused. These defenses available on different facts lies totally upon the jury’s decision. There are certain procedures that have to be gone through while proceeding for defense under certain circumstances.

Some crucial facts are discussed here.

Autrefois Acquit and Convict

According to the law and the rules of Autrefois Acquit, if the person accused are already convicted or accused of any offense then he/she cannot be again convicted for the same offense which arose from the same circumstances. If the prosecution cannot prove the redundancy then a judge can go for a second set of proceedings.

However, according to the Court of Criminal appeals order, the person acquitted can be retried again even if the evidence of his/her crime is fresh and can bring for him a lifetime penalty such as life imprisonment and so on.

On the contrary, Autrefois Convict is not applicable for two very different offenses which are the consequences of a single act. However, if any situation arises where the accused person has been charged with an offense and the acquitted and then again charged for another offense arose as the consequence of the same act then, in that case Autrefois Convict may be applied. But here the condition is the elements of the first offense must be contained within the elements of the second offence and this thing goes either way.

Fitness to Be Tried

In state or national level matters, the onus of proof totally depends on the probability balance. Sometimes the onus is on the allegation of the accused. But all the time the authority remains to the crown. For having the fitness to be tried, the accused must understand for what he is charged, whether he/she is able to plea to the charge or not, the nature of proceedings, whether he/she can follow what is going over the court or not, the extensive consequences of any act and the ability to make his own defense.

According to law, the cause of unfitness does not always remain confined in mental illness. Rather it includes the developmental disability. The overall condition of the accused throughout the whole procedure of trial and others must be taken in account for further consideration.

Mental Illness

If it can be proved that while the offense was being committed, the mental condition of the accused was not developed enough to understand the nature, consequences or quality of his/her act and he/she did not know whether he/she was doing right or wrong then that can be a defense. The defense regarding to mental illness can be raised in local court for proceedings.

The cause of the mental disorder or its durability and the probability of being cured fully is generally considered irrelevant. If a person is found no guilty because of his mental illness then the onus is upon the jury to decide about the accused.

The defense of self-defense has been collated in recent times. A person can carry out self-defense if and only if the person finds it necessary to defend him/herself or to prevent the unethical deprivation of his/her freedom or to protect his/her property from unlawful abduction or to prevent criminal trespass to any land or area.


Duress is a common defense for most of the crimes. It is made only if the accused was doing the offence under some kind of death-threat or serious body harm.

There are also other factors needed to be considered like necessity, provocation which can help out making a defense.

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Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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