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Self-defence refers to situations where you were acting to protect yourself, your property or another person. The defence is covered by both criminal law and common law.
Section 418 of the Crimes Act 1900, titled Self-defence–when available provides;
(1) A person is not criminally responsible for an offence if the person carries out the conduct constituting the offence in self-defence.
(2) A person carries out conduct in self-defence if and only if the person believes the conduct is 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, or
(c) to protect property from unlawful taking, destruction, damage or interference, or
(d) to prevent criminal trespass to any land or premises or to remove a person committing any such criminal trespass, and the conduct is a reasonable response in the circumstances as he or she perceives them.
In Viro v The Queen (1978) 141 CLR 88, six propositions were formulated by Mason CJ, Aickin and Stephen JJ. They were expressed as follows:
It is for the jury first to consider whether when the accused killed the deceased the accused reasonably believed that an unlawful attack which threatened him with death or serious bodily harm was being or was about to be made upon him. By the expression “reasonably believed” is meant, not what a reasonable man would have believed, but what the accused himself might reasonably believe in all the circumstances in which he found himself.
If the jury is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that there was no reasonable believe by the accused of such an attack no question of self-defence arises.
If the jury is not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that there was no such reasonable belief by the accused, it must then consider whether the force in fact used by the accused was reasonably proportionate to the danger which he believed he faced.
If the jury is not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that more force was used than was reasonably proportionate it should acquit.
If the jury is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that more force was used, then its verdict should be either manslaughter or murder, that depending upon the answer to the final question for the jury – did the accused believe that the force which he used was reasonably proportionate to the danger which he believed he faced?
If the jury is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the accused did not have such a believe the verdict will be murder. If it is not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the accused did not have that belief the verdict will be manslaughter.”
In Viro self-defence was confined to a response to an unlawful attack. The Court in Zecevic held that it is not to be so confined. At p 382, Wilson, Dawson and Toohey JJ said:
“Whilst in most cases in which self-defence is raised the attack said to give rise to the need for the accused to defend himself will have been unlawful, as a matter of law there is no requirement that it should have been so. This is demonstrated by the exhaustive examination of authority carried out by Ormiston J. In R. V. Lawson and Forsythe. Thus, for example, self-defence is available against an attack by a person who, by reason of insanity, is incapable of forming the necessary intent to commit a crime. It is, however, only in an unusual situation that an attack which is not unlawful will provide reasonable grounds for resort to violence in self-defence. The whole of the surrounding circumstances are to be taken into account and where an accused person has created the situation in which force might lawfully be applied to apprehend him or cause him to desist – where, for example, he is engaged in criminal behaviour of a violence kind – then the only reasonable view of his resistance to that force will be that he is acting, not in self-defence, but as an aggressor in pursuit of his original design.”
In order to successfully raise self-defence, you will need to prove on the balance of probabilities that:
The key to successfully raising self-defence is that you honestly believed, given your circumstances that you acted in a manner that was reasonable to protect yourself, your property or another person.
You cannot raise self-defence in circumstances where you under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is due to the effect that alcohol or drugs has to impair your ability to perceive risks.
Self defence is not a partial defence to murder. If you acted in a way where it is shown that your actions were excessive self defence or you had no intention of murder, you can be found guilty of manslaughter and not guilty of murder.
If the police have charged you or a loved one, you must attend court. Appearing in court for a criminal charge is usually daunting. Let us help you make the process easier. Here are 10 reasons to choose our team of criminal lawyers from Lyons Law Group;
Result-focused criminal lawyers
Our team will work to achieve the best result for you in the shortest time possible. However, we do aim to provide quality over quantity service to you. Our criminal lawyers appear in all criminal and traffic matters, including trials, sentencing, bail applications, and apprehended violence orders. We are a result-focused firm of lawyers.
At Lyons Law, we do not make any unrealistic promises for results. You will be advised on the most realistic results achievable in your case, including acquittals of all charges against you. Nevertheless, you can be sure that our team will work extremely hard to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
Proven Track Record
Our experienced defence lawyers are passionate about representing their clients and achieving the best outcome. Lyons Law is a team of solicitors who are dedicated, and with our support staff, you can be confident of the highest quality of legal representation. We have an exceptional track record of results. We provide our outstanding client service at an affordable rate for our clients.
We always let our clients know how much their cases will cost from the beginning. This makes it easier for them to decide whether or not they want to proceed with the case. Not only do we offer fixed fees for many types of criminal cases and services, but also free first phone consultations. In addition, our firm offers fixed fees applicable to a wide range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, fraud, drug possession, assault, and AVOs.
Free First Conference
For all of those individuals who are going to court, we offer a free first 15-minute phone conference with one of our senior criminal defence lawyer. It is best you email our office all your relevant documents before a conference so criminal lawyers can provide the best advice within that time frame.
Highly experienced criminal defence lawyer
Lyons Law Group is a highly experienced team of criminal lawyers. Our team is led by Mohammad Khan, who is one of the best criminal lawyers in Sydney. He has represented clients in some of Australia’s most high-profile cases and was under the direct tutelage of Australia’s leading criminal lawyer Adam Houda.
Moreover, our team has worked and successfully represented clients on highly complex trials and sentences in NSW.
Work closely with Australia’s leading criminal law barrister
We work closely with some of Australia’s leading criminal law barristers. Barristers are usually instructed in more serious matters, and their experience and input can be invaluable to your case. The barristers we regularly instruct range from Queen’s counsels, Senior counsels and highly experienced junior-senior counsels.
Specialist for District and Supreme Court trials
Our team of sydney criminal lawyers have worked on numerous District and Supreme Court trials in NSW. We have worked on extremely complex criminal law trials that require impeccable preparation and understanding of the law.
Specialist for bail applications in NSW
Lyons Law Group is a highly experienced team of bail lawyers. We have regularly obtained bail for clients for extremely serious charges that carry life sentences. For types of charges, bail is usually denied by a Court.
In house Experts
Our criminal lawyers have in-house investigators with decades of law enforcement experience and assist our team with process service, background checks, integrity testing, investigations, surveillance, and bug detection.
For the preparation of jury trials and defended hearings, these services can be utilised on behalf of our client to achieve the best result.
Appearance at all Courts in NSW
From Broken Hill to Waverly, our criminal lawyers appear in all courts throughout New South Wales.