Duress refers to a situation where you have committed a crime against your will, in circumstances where you have been threatened or intimidated into committing the crime.

You will have to show:

  • Actual threat was made, for example, phone conversations, text messages or give evidence in court of how threat was made;
  • The threat was serious enough to justify your actions, for example; either a death threat or threat of a serious injury against your family or yourself. The threat must be serious that it would be have caused an ordinary person to act in the same way in those circumstances
  • That your own freewill was overridden by the threat, there was no intention for you to perform those acts
  • The threat must be acting on your mind at the time of the offending, where you are worried about the threat.
  • The threat was continuing, for example you could not avoid by the threat by reporting to police.

However, you will not be able to raise a defence of duress for murder or manslaughter