Affirmative Defences

In criminal law, an affirmative defence is a legal defence that the defendant raises to negate or excuse his criminal liability, even if the prosecution has proven all the elements of the crime.

An affirmative defence typically requires the defendant to provide evidence to support his claim. It is different from a negative defence, which simply denies the elements of the crime, and where the burden is on the prosecution to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt.

Some examples of affirmative defences in criminal law include:
  1. Self-defence: The defendant may argue that he acted in self-defence to protect himself from imminent harm, and that his use of force was reasonable under the circumstances.
  2. Duress: The defendant may argue that he was forced to commit the crime under threat of serious harm to himself or his loved ones.
  3. Insanity: The defendant may argue that hew was not legally responsible for his actions because he suffered from a mental illness or defect at the time of the crime.
  4. Necessity: The defendant may argue that he committed the crime to prevent a greater harm, such as breaking into a house to rescue a child who is in danger.
  5. Entrapment: The defendant claims that he was induced or coerced by law enforcement to commit the crime. He needs to prove that he would not have committed the crime if the law enforcement officers had not created such a situation to induce him to commit it.

It is important to note that the burden of proof for affirmative defences is typically on the defendant, meaning that he must present enough evidence to convince the jury of the validity of his defence.

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