User990473
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I was recently looking at the case of Vicky Pryce perverting the course of justice [2013]. Her defence was unsuccessful however I am still in awe that such a defence could be allowed to exist.

Section 47 of the criminal law act [1925] states:
Any presumption of law that an offence committed by a wife in the presence of her husband is committed under the coercion of the husband is hereby abolished, but on a charge against a wife for any offence other than treason or murder it shall be a good defence to prove that the offence was committed in the presence of, and under the coercion of, the husband
Why does such a law still exist in 21st century Britain? Does in not imply that women are unable to make decisions independently of their husbands?
Not only is this offensive towards women but it is also discriminatory towards both males in marital relationships and same-sex couples who are in civil partnerships.

Duress seems sufficient when considering these sorts of mitigating circumstances surrounding a crime in marital and non-marital relationships. Surely such a ridiculously discriminatory legislation as the marital coercion defence should just be abolished.
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User990473
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I posted this at a stupid time so figured it could do with a bump :yep:
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Occams Chainsaw)
I was recently looking at the case of Vicky Pryce perverting the course of justice [2013]. Her defence was unsuccessful however I am still in awe that such a defence could be allowed to exist.

Section 47 of the criminal law act [1925] states:


Why does such a law still exist in 21st century Britain? Does in not imply that women are unable to make decisions independently of their husbands?
Not only is this offensive towards women but it is also discriminatory towards both males in marital relationships and same-sex couples who are in civil partnerships.

Duress seems sufficient when considering these sorts of mitigating circumstances surrounding a crime in marital and non-marital relationships. Surely such a ridiculously discriminatory legislation as the marital coercion defence should just be abolished.
I think this was sleeping quite nicely until the Pryce case came along. It appears to have last been used succesfully in 1976 with a very young wife of a domineering husband. In various other cases it was run unsuccesfully. It would have been considered something only to have been used if duress was not technically available because of the nature of the threats, because the burden of negativing duress lay in the prosecution whereas the wife had to prove marital coercion on the balance of probablities.

Pryce has changed the game, because the judge ruled that Pryce only had to bear an evidential burden (ie demonstrating that she might have been coerced) rather than a legal burden (proving that it was more likely than not that she was coerced). Once the evidencial burden was satisifed the prosecution had to prove beyond reasonable doubt that she was not coerced. This much lower standard isn't a million miles away from the pre-1925 position.

That, I think, means that the defence will have to go. The problem is not juries. They will, as with Pryce, see through cynical attempts to claim coercion. The problem will be those cases where there is simply no evidence to prove the woman was not coerced. If she can show she might have been coerced, then a directed acquittal is inevitable whereas before Pryce the woman had to prove she was coerced.
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Endless Blue
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The key difference is that duress is much more difficult to establish.

There is an interesting video on the Cambridge Law fac website about this. Well worth a watch.


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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Endless Blue)
The key difference is that duress is much more difficult to establish.

There is an interesting video on the Cambridge Law fac website about this. Well worth a watch.


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Two different issues:-

the ingredients

the burden and standard of proof.

The ingredients have always been harder for duress.

Prior to Pryce, proof was much harder for coercion (D obligation to prove on balance of probs for coercion; Crown obligation to negative beyond reasonable doubt for duress)

Since Pryce, proof almost as easy for coercion (D obligation to prove on balance of probs that evidence capable of sustaining defence exists coupled with Crown obligation to negative beyond reasonable doubt for coercion as against Crown obligation to negative beyond reasonable doubt for duress)
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Endless Blue
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
Two different issues:-

the ingredients

the burden and standard of proof.

The ingredients have always been harder for duress.

Prior to Pryce, proof was much harder for coercion (D obligation to prove on balance of probs for coercion; Crown obligation to negative beyond reasonable doubt for duress)

Since Pryce, proof almost as easy for coercion (D obligation to prove on balance of probs that evidence capable of sustaining defence exists coupled with Crown obligation to negative beyond reasonable doubt for coercion as against Crown obligation to negative beyond reasonable doubt for duress)
How was the proof more difficult prior to Pryce? Surely it is an easier standard for the defendant to have to prove that on balance of probabilities there was coercion than the Crown proving beyond reasonable doubt.


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Endless Blue
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Edit: never mind, I see now.


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