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Self-defence

The legislation which deals with Self-defence is the Criminal Code Act 1913 at Section 248. It provides as follows:

(1) In this section —

harmful act means an act that is an element of an offence under this Part other than Chapter XXXV.

(2)  A harmful act done by a person is lawful if the act is done in self-defence under subsection (4).

(3)  If—

(a) a person unlawfully kills another person in circumstances which, but for this section, would constitute murder; and

(b) the person’s act that causes the other person’s death would be an act done in self-defence under
subsection (4) but for the fact that the act is not a reasonable response by the person in the circumstances as the person believes them to be,

the person is guilty of manslaughter and not murder.

(4)  A person’s harmful act is done in self-defence if —

(a)  the person believes the act is necessary to defend the person or another person from a harmful act, including a harmful act that is not imminent; and

(b)  the person’s harmful act is a reasonable response by the person in the circumstances as the person believes them to be; and

(c)  there are reasonable grounds for those beliefs.

(5)  A person’s harmful act is not done in self-defence if it is done to defend the person or another person from a harmful act that is lawful.

(6)  For the purposes of subsection (5), a harmful act is not lawful merely because the person doing it is not criminally responsible for it.

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