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Unformatted text preview: sonableness standard ensures that a jury, in evaluating the defendant's action, shares the actor's evaluation of the circumstances that created the claimed necessity. This standard has been expressed as follows: "While an accused's perceptions of the surrounding facts may be highly relevant in determining whether his conduct should be excused, those perceptions remain relevant only so long as they are reasonable. The accused person must, at the time of the act, honestly believe, on reasonable grounds, that he faces a situation of imminent peril that leaves no reasonable legal alternative open. There must be a reasonable basis for the accused's beliefs and actions, but it would be proper to take into account circumstances that legitimately affect the accused person's ability to evaluate his situation. The test cannot be a subjective one, and the accused who argues that he perceived imminent peril without an alternative would only succeed with the defence of necessity if his belief was reasonable given his circumstances and attributes." Under this standard, it is not sufficient that a terrorist subjectively believes that an act of violence is necessary to prevent a greater evil. Under the reasonableness standard, an actor must reasonably construe that there is an actual, imminent threat in the first place, and in making a choice among evils, that one evil is greater than the other. The threat need not be an actual threat, provided the actor has a well-founded belief that impending harm will result unless he takes steps to avert it. The balancing of evils "cannot, of course, be committed to the private judgment of the actor, but must, in most cases, be determined at trial with due regard being given for the crime charged and the higher value sought to be achieved." The reasonableness standard is to ensure that the necessity defense will apply in situations in which society benefits from the violation of the law. "That benefit is lost, however, and the theory fails...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13