SUMMARY OF R V. WILLIAM GLADSTONE

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R V. WILLIAM GLADSTONE

The defendant believed that the person whom he assaulted was unlawfully assaulting a third party. That person was a police officer, who said he was arresting the other, but did not show his warrant card.

Held: The court considered the issue of whether a defendant’s unreasonable belief could support a plea of self defence. Lord Lane CJ said: ‘The reasonableness or unreasonableness of the defendant’s belief is material to question of whether the belief was held by the defendant at all. If the belief was in fact held, its unreasonableness, so far as guilt or innocence is concerned, is neither here nor there. It is irrelevant. Were it otherwise, the defendant would be convicted because he was negligent in failing to recognise that the victim was not consenting . . and so on.’ and ‘Even if the jury come to the conclusion that the mistake was an unreasonable one, if the defendant may genuinely have been labouring under it, he is entitled to rely on it.’

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