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In certain situations a defendant may raise the defence of duress. If the defendant felt immediate threat of death of serious personal violence resulting in a resistance in carrying out a criminal act then the defence of duress may arise.

The defence of duress cannot be a defence to murder and it cannot be available where the defendant was at fault in exposing themselves to the compulsion.

For the threat to be enough to constitute duress it must be imminent and impending.

When the courts look at a defendants argument for duress they take both a subjective and objective test. It will be asked, was the will of the defendant overborne and would a person of reasonable firmness have been similarly overborne.

Expert evidence on the “battered women’s syndrome” may be admissible on the issue of duress.

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