Criminal Law: Complete vs. Partial Defences

August 3, 2023

Defences in criminal law can be categorized as complete or partial. A successful complete defence absolves the defendant of all liability, leading to a full acquittal. However, a partial defence will not result in full acquittal but could lead to a reduction of charges or penalties. For example, if diminished responsibility can be proven, a charge of murder can be reduced to voluntary manslaughter which carries a lesser sentence and does not include the stigmatised label of ‘murderer’.

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