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Defence is a term for an act of refuting the other party’s evidence by adducing one’s own evidence.

It is classified into informal and formal defences by the common law.

Informal defences are those evidence adduced which does not denote any recognizable doctrine in criminal law but cast reasonable doubt in the case of the prosecution. Some of the informal evidence are:

  • Defence of alibi which means that the person was not around in the place where the offence was committed but was in the company of another person in any other place
  • Defence of an accident when the defendant did not intentionally commit the offence charged but was a result of inadvertence on his part which act is non-culpable
  • Defence of mistake when owing to an error on the part of the defendant that he does not possess the guilty mind to commit the act charged.
  • Formal defences, on the other hand, pertain to defences invoking legal doctrines. It is subdivided into two categories: the primary defence and the secondary defence. It is also commonly referred to as a legal defence.
  • Primary defences refer to defences which refute the evidence of the prosecution by way of a denial that one or more elements of the offence charged are missing or not present at the time of the commission of the offence by the defendant.

Secondary evidence on the other hand which are also termed as exculpatory defences, work to exonerate the defendant from liability that has been already proved. These include self- defence, provocation, necessity, duress, insanity and diminished responsibility.

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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