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To use the defence of duress, the accused must call evidence about the following:
The accused bears an evidentiary onus (call evidence that raises the defence). Once the accused discharges the evidentiary onus, the prosecution must prove that the accused acted voluntarily and in order to do so must eliminate any reasonable possibility that he acted under duress.
The information contained below involves complex legal principles. If you do not have a good knowledge of the law you may have difficulty understanding the principles. If you need assistance, please call or email us.
The court stated that the prosecution must establish one or the other of two things. It does not have to establish both of them. The first is that, when the accused did those acts, there is no reasonable possibility that he did so by reason of a threat that death or really serious physical harm would be inflicted upon him or upon his family if he did not do those acts.
If the prosecution has failed to eliminate that particular reasonable possibility, it must establish in relation to any such threat which may reasonably have been made that there is no reasonable possibility that such was its gravity that a person of ordinary firmness of mind and will, and of the same sex and maturity as the accused, would have yielded to that threat in the way in which the accused did.
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.