Disclaimer: This work was produced by one of our expert legal writers, as a learning aid to help law students with their studies.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of LawTeacher.net. Any information contained in this case summary does not constitute legal advice and should be treated as educational content only.

R v Gotts - 1982

286 words (1 pages) Case Summary

3rd Jul 2019 Case Summary Reference this In-house law team

Jurisdiction(s): UK Law

R v Gotts (Benjamin) [1992] 2 AC 412

Criminal law – Duress – Murder

Facts

Gotts, a sixteen-year-old boy, tried to kill his mother as he claimed that his father had threatened to shoot him unless he did so. Gotts stabbed his mother and caused serious injuries from which she survived. Gotts was charged with attempted murder. The trial judge ruled that the defence of duress was not available to him on a charge of attempted murder and instructed the jury to not consider this matter. Following this, Gotts changed his plea to guilty and appealed the conviction on the basis of the judge’s jury direction.

Issue

The key legal issue in this case was whether the defence of duress was available to Gotts on the basis that he was charged with attempted murder. The court would be required to analyse the common law and relevant pieces of legislation to understand in which circumstances the defence of duress applied.

Held

Gotts’ appeal was dismissed. The court recognised that there was no English authority which dealt directly with duress under a charge of attempted murder. However, the court followed R v Howe & Bannister (1987) which maintained that the defence of duress would not be available. This was based on the fact that that the law regarded the sanctity of life and felt its protection was of paramount importance. On this basis, it would be difficult to reconcile attempted murder (where the accused has an intention to kill), with murder where a punishable mens rea would suffice if the individual had the intent to cause serious injury.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all