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Criminal & DUI Lawyers, including:
Three Former Crown Prosecutors

Defence of Necessity

I want to talk to you today a little bit about the common law defence of necessity and I’m going to give you an example of a very interesting case that one of our lawyers, one of our top lawyers in fact, Anthony Andreopoulos just won in a Kitchener courtroom.  Our client was confronted by individuals and felt imminent fear for her life and felt that she was going to get beat up essentially. She didn’t want to drive but to escape that particular scene she got in her car and drove for a short period of time while in an impaired state and then pulled over when she felt safe.  We raised that defence, Anthony did in court, and won. The Judge ruled that the Crown had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that this defence didn’t apply. The burden’s on the Crown. The client raised it. She was a credible and reliable witness and the Judge believed her and acquitted her.

To raise this defence and there are other ways of raising this in other factual situations other than impaired driving as well.  You have to feel that you are in imminent danger and that you have no reasonable alternative but to commit a crime to avoid that danger and the harm caused by your conduct in avoiding that danger has to be in proportion to the harm you are trying to avoid.  In other words if you are trying to avoid being beaten up for example. So it’s a very interesting defence. It does work in certain situations. Our firm has run this defence many times successfully over the years and it’s just another common law defence that may be in your lawyer’s tool kit if your fact situation fits this particular defence.

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