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Areas of Practice



In every criminal case, the prosecutor (Crown Attorney) has the burden to prove all the essential elements of the offence(s) charged beyond a reasonable doubt. If that threshold is not met, and the Crown fails to prove even a single essential element of the offence, the Crown's case will fail and the accused must be acquitted. 

In certain cases, one of several statutory or common law defences may also be available. Some of these defences include: self-defenceduress, necessity, and provocation. If you want to know what defences may apply to your case, contact us now to speak with an experienced defence lawyer. 


A person not guilty of an offence and is justified in acting in defence of themselves or another person if three conditions are met:

(a) they believe on reasonable grounds that force is being used against them or another person or that a threat of force is being made against them or another person;

(b) the act that constitutes the offence is committed for the purpose of defending or protecting themselves or the other person from that use or threat or force; and

(c) the act is committed in reasonable circumstances

Defence of Duress

Generally, the defence of duress applies to a person who commits an offence under compulsion by threats of death or bodily harm, and only if the person believes that the threats will be carried out. However, despite being both a statutory and common law defence, there are many limits to its availability, including for instance if the person voluntarily joined a criminal organization that he knew might pressure him to engage in criminal acts. 

Defence of Necessity

The defence of necessity may be available to a person who commits an offence in circumstances where:

(a) the accused was in imminent peril or danger;

(b) the accused had not reasonable legal alternative to the course of action he or she undertook; and

(c) the harm inflicted was proportional to the harm avoided

Defence of Provocation

The defence of provocation is a "partial defence" that only applies to murder. It is a partial defence as it serves only to reduce a murder conviction to a conviction for manslaughter.

The defence is applicable to a culpable homicide that would otherwise be murder if the person who committed it did so in the heat of passion caused by sudden provocation. The defence is also available when the conduct of the victim constituted an indictable offence that is punishable by five or more years of imprisonment, and was of such a nature as the be sufficient to deprive an ordinary person of the power of self-control, if the accused acted on it in the sudden and before there was time for their passion to cool. 

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