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Beckford v R

[1988] AC 130

Case summary last updated at 13/01/2020 15:03 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Beckford v R

 In Jamaica a policeman shot an unarmed man in the honest belief that the man had a gun was going to shoot him. The Jamaican trial judge and Jamaican CA held that the policeman’s belief had to be reasonable and therefore he was convicted of murder. The HL said that actually no “reasonableness” requirement existed and that provided the belief was genuine and honest then it was a defence. Naturally, how reasonable of far-fetched the belief was could be used as evidence to deduce whether it was likely that D actually held the belief. In this case HL quashed the conviction. R v Williams (Gladstone) and R v Morgan clearly establish the lack of need for reasonableness.

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