What Are Common Defences Against Murder in the UK?
While it can seem that being charged with murder is something of a death sentence in itself, there are many defences against such a serious charge that can and will be used in a court of law by an experienced criminal solicitor.
Some of these include self-defence, defence of others, defence of property, and loss of control (formerly known as “provocation”). Other kinds will require professional insight, which may need to come from a psychiatrist or a psychologist at the time of the trial.
5 Common Defences Against Murder in the UK
So, what are some of the most commonly used defences against a murder charge in the UK?
This is a commonly used option by criminal solicitors when they are defending in court. Self-defence is a defence to a charge of murder if the defendant can show that they were acting in self-defence when they killed the victim.
To successfully raise this defence, the defendant must show that they felt they were in imminent danger of death or severe injury and that their actions to defend themselves were reasonable in the circumstances.
2. Defending someone else
The defence of others is similar to self-defence, but it applies when the defendant is acting to defend someone else rather than themselves.
To raise this defence, the defendant must show that they believed the person they were supporting was in imminent danger of death or severe injury and that their actions were reasonable in the circumstances.
3. Defending a home or shop
Defence of property is a defence to a charge of murder if the defendant can show that they were acting to defend their property from being stolen or damaged when they killed the victim.
To raise this defence, the defendant must show that they believed their property was under imminent threat and that their actions were reasonable in the circumstances.
4. Loss of control
Loss of control is a defence to a potential charge of murder if the defendant can show that they lost control of their actions due to a temporary loss of self-control caused by something the victim said or did.
To raise this particular defence, the defendant must show that their actions resulted from a loss of control and that the loss of control was caused by something that would have caused a reasonable person to lose control.
5. Loss of capacity
Loss of capacity is a defence that can be raised if the defendant was suffering from a mental health issue at the time of the killing that rendered them unable to understand the nature of their actions.
If the defence of loss of capacity is successful, the defendant will not be found guilty of murder. Instead, they will be found not guilty because of insanity and may be detained in a secure hospital for treatment.
To raise the defence of loss of capacity, the defendant must provide evidence that they were suffering from a mental health issue at the time of the killing. This evidence can come from medical experts, who can testify about the defendant’s mental state at the time of the offence.
Posts on this website do not constitute legal advice. Please consult with a local criminal solicitor or attorney should you have further queries about legal matters of this nature.
Note to Our Readers
Moms, I sincerely hope you never require the information in this article, unless of course you are a criminal solicitor yourself or becoming one.
If you or one of your loved ones has had to face murder charges and pleaded one of these defences, please share your story in the comments below.