general defences

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Common-law defences to any common-law or statutory crimes. A defendant should be acquitted when the magistrates or jury have a reasonable doubt as to whether he was entitled to a general defence. By contrast, special defences are confined to individual offences, are usually of statutory origin, and usually place an evidential burden on the defendant to show that he acted reasonably. See also duress; excuse; justification; mistake; necessity; non-insane automatism; self-defence.

Subjects: Law.

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