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R v Ali [1995] Crim LR 303   Court of Appeal

The appellant had become involved in drug dealing and became indebted to his supplier. The supplier ordered him to rob a bank or building society otherwise he would kill him. The supplier gave him a gun and told him to commit the robbery the following day. In directing the jury on the defence of duress, the trial judge had said:

"The final question is this: did he, in obtaining heroin from Mr X and supplying it to others for gain, after he knew of Mr X's reputation for violence, voluntarily put himself in a position where he knew that he was likely to be forced by Mr X to commit a crime?"

The appellant appealed contending that the judge should have said "forced by Mr X to commit armed robbery".

Held:

Appeal dismissed

"The crux of the matter, as it seems to us, is knowledge in the defendant of either a violent nature to the gang or the enterprise which he has joined, or a violent disposition in the person or persons involved with him in the criminal activity he voluntarily joined. In our judgment, if a defendant voluntarily participates in criminal offences with a man 'X', whom he knows to be of a violent disposition and likely to require him to perform other criminal acts, he cannot rely upon duress if 'X' does so."
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