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The prosecutor must disprove self-defence beyond a reasonable doubt.

If the prosecutor fails to disprove at least one of the two elements of self-defence, the accused will be entitled to an acquittal.

Self-defence is governed in Victoria by the common law. In homicide situations, statutory self-defence provisions exist in the Crimes Act 1958. Section 9AC is the provision to be used in murder cases, and section 9AE is to be used in manslaughter cases.


What the Law Says - Section 9AC of the Crimes ACT 1958

A person is not guilty of murder if he or she carries out the conduct that would otherwise constitute murder while believing the conduct to be necessary to defend himself or herself or another person from the infliction of death or really serious injury. Notes

1. See section 4 for the alternative verdict of defensive homicide where the accused had no reasonable grounds for the belief.

2. This section does not apply where the response is to lawful conduct-see section 9AF. 3. See section 9AH as to belief in circumstances where family violence is alleged.
 

What the Law Says - Section 9AE of the Crimes ACT 1958

A person is not guilty of manslaughter if he or she carries out the conduct that would otherwise constitute manslaughter while believing the conduct to be necessary-

(a) to defend himself or herself or another person; or

(b) To prevent or terminate the unlawful deprivation of his or her liberty or the liberty of another person-

And he or she had reasonable grounds for that belief. Notes 1. See section 9AH as to reasonable grounds for the belief in circumstances where family violence is alleged. 2. This section does not apply where the response is to lawful conduct-see section 9AF.

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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