R v Dawes [2013]

Facts

  • Dawes found his wife asleep with another man, and woke the man with violence
  • Following the man’s retaliation, Dawes stabbed the man fatally in the neck
  • Self-defence was rejected by the jury
  • The trial judge rejected loss of self-control as the defendant had incited the qualifying trigger

Issue

  • Could the defendant rely on the defence of loss of self-control?

Decision

  • No

Reasoning

  • Although there was insufficient evidence that the defendant had incited the trigger for losing his self-control, the defendant provided insufficient evidence to satisfy the first part of the loss of self-control defence: that there has been any loss of self-control in the first place; it can also be difficult to say a defendant who incited violence is in fear of retaliation
  • The loss of self-control defence was said to provide an effective filter for trivial defence cases to be bought
  • In the context of one of the other two appeals joined with Dawes, Lord Judge found it ludicrous to say that a burglar could lose his self-control effectively due to the surprise that an occupier experienced upon arriving home and discovering┬áthe burglar
  • A defendant should raise self-defence as a defence and allow a judge to substitute loss of self-control if necessary
RELATED CASE  R v Holland [1841]

Posted in Criminal Law Revision Notes.

This page was last updated on 26th December 2014

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