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Defences to murder charge vary depending on circumstances

There is no question that being accused of taking the life of another person is a serious offence. The penalties associated with a conviction for this crime could lead to the loss of liberty for the accused. People who find they are facing these charges will not automatically be convicted of the crime. A trial will be conducted during which, a defence to the charges may be offered. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, it is possible that self defence could be offered as a reason. This is the approach that was recently taken in a first degree murder trial currently being considered by a jury in Ontario.

Two brothers were accused of shooting a man who was allegedly formerly part of the biker gang Hells Angels, point blank. While the Crown claimed the young of the two actually committed the crime, the lawyer for the older brother said he did it in self defence. According to his lawyer, the incident occurred after the younger of the two was beaten by the deceased, following his refusal to agree to extortion demands leveled by the victim. The victim also allegedly threatened not only the accused and his brother, but their families as well.

As an alternative to self defence, the man’s lawyer asked the jury to consider another defence—that the shooting was the result of being provoked by the deceased.

In many cases the defence of choice involves a complete denial of the charges. In this case, the issue is whether the circumstances surrounding the man’s death. How the case will be resolved remains to be seen.