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Sudden Or Extraordinary Emergency

This defence can be raised where a person commits an offence only due to the fact they were compelled by a threat or sudden emergency.

In Victoria, this defence is legislated under Section 322R of the Crimes Act 1958. The provision states that a person is not guilty for an offence committed in circumstances where to not do so would result in serious harm or injury to either themselves or someone under their responsibility.

For this defence to apply, the accused must prove the following:

  • they held an honest and reasonable belief that circumstances of sudden or extraordinary emergency existed;

  • they believed their conduct was the only reasonable way to deal with the circumstances of sudden or extraordinary emergency;

  • their conduct was reasonable given the circumstances of sudden or extraordinary emergency they faced.

If the defence of sudden or extraordinary emergency is raised, it is then up to the prosecution to show that the actions were unreasonable in the circumstances beyond reasonable doubt.

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