Self-defence in the criminal law of Western Australia
In light of recent media reports, it is important to provide clarification on the concept of self-defence, which is well-established in the criminal law of Western Australia.
Law Society President Elizabeth Needham said, “The rationale behind self-defence is obvious: a person should not be punished for defending themselves against an unjustified attack. However, in each individual case there may be a range of factors that must be taken into account.
“Self-defence encompasses the idea of ‘reasonable force’. This means the response must be proportionate to the nature of the attack and takes into account all of the circumstances in which the force is used.
“There is also a further defence of using ‘reasonable force’ to remove someone from your property in special circumstances, and again this relies on the idea of ‘reasonable force’.
“There may be circumstances where it is necessary for someone to act in self-defence. However, wherever possible, the best course of action is, of course, to contact the police.”
Watch Elizabeth Needham’s interview with Channel 7 on the subject of self-defence.
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