Lecture and Texbook notes combined: Reasonableness and Domestic Violence

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Women's Studies
Women's Studies 2270A/B
Amanda J Porter

Reasonableness and Domestic Violence A legal justification exists when one acts permissibly under the circumstances Self DefenceSelf Defence is a legal defence in the Criminal Code ifIt is a response to aggression that one did not provoke y It is not intended to cause harm but to repel a threatyNo more force is used than is necessary to repel the assault or the repetition of it y One has a reasonable apprehension of death or grievous bodily harm y One has reasonable belief that alternative means of repelling the threat are unavailable y All of these things must applyyo Reponses to aggressiono Not intendedo No more force than necessaryo Reasonable apprehension o Alternative meansAnother requirement which is in case law is it has to be immediate imminence y Justification versus Excuse JustificationOne does something that is usually impermissible but under the circumstances it is permissible ExcuseOne does something impermissible but it is inappropriate to blame one for itIs selfdefense a justification or excuseAuston argues that justifications are when you do something wrong except for under the ycircumstances Justifications versus excusey R v WhynotJane Whynot shoots her commonlaw husband Billy Stafford while he slept after he threatened yto kill her oldest son AllanBilly Stafford had a long history of brutally violent behaviourSome evidence that Jane Whynot took some steps to have her husband killed months earlierWhynot perceives no escapeWomen in this type of long term relationship increase their chances of being killed if they yleave Trial court acquits Jane Whynot of first degree murder withWhynots defence team using the defence of provocationIf someone is threatening harm you can defend somebody who is under your protection yDefence team argues he provokes heryCrown appeals and Nova Scotia Court of Appeal allows the appeal arguing that Whynots jury was not legally entitled to consider the defence of selfdefenseWhynot then pleads guilty to lesser charge of manslaughter serves 6 months in jail and later commits suicideNow she would get 4 years it is illegal to be in jail for manslaughter for lesyyArgued that the trial judge misdirected the jury as to the defence of justification pursuant to s 37 of the Criminal Code
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