alternative verdict

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A verdict of not guilty of the offence actually charged but guilty of some lesser offence not specifically charged. Such a verdict is only permitted when there is insufficient evidence to establish the more serious offence but the evidence given is sufficient to prove the lesser offence. If, for example, in a murder case there is evidence that the defendant lacked malice aforethought, an alternative verdict of manslaughter may be returned.

Subjects: Law.

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