Despite what the police might say, being charged with an offence does not mean that you will be found guilty of that offence. It is also true to say that police are human and do make mistakes. In some cases they may be bound to take action against someone even though they would prefer not to and in other cases they may be biased or act illegally.

This section contains the common defences that apply in criminal-law matters in the ACT, including self-defence laws, duress, necessity, intoxication and defences to murder.

There are many reasons why you may be found not guilty by the court and we have listed a few below:

  • The police don’t have enough evidence to prove that you committed the offence;
  • The police have acted illegally or improperly;
  • A witness may not attend court;
  • The police have charged you with the wrong offence;
  • You are able to rely on a recognised defence.

This section of our website deals with the most common criminal-law defences that apply in the ACT, including material from the ACT’s Human Rights Act. The Territory is one of only three jurisdictions in Australia to have a Human Rights Act.

Some of the criminal defences are highly technical legal concepts and some are not.

If you need help understanding a defence and how it may apply to you or would like us to defend you, please call us.


If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.


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