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R v Shepherd (1988) 86 Cr App R 47 Court of Appeal

The appellant was a member of a gang of shoplifters. He tried to leave but was threatened with violence against himself and family if he did not continue. He was charged with burglary and the trial judge withdrew the defence of duress from the jury and he was convicted.

Held:

His conviction was quashed. A gang of shoplifters is very different from a paramilitary organisation or gang of armed robbers. The defence of duress should have been left for the jury to decide. The jury should at least have been invited to consider whether he could be said to have taken the risk of violence simply by joining a gang whose activities were not overtly violent; they might well have convicted still, but should at least have been given the opportunity to decide.

 

Back to Lecture outline on the defence of  Duress in Criminal Law