Representatives of Criminal Law [Department at the National Paralegal College]. Retrieved from: Self Defence. National Paralegal College, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2013. .
Self defence is the right of a person to protect oneself with reasonable force against another person who is threatening to inflict force upon one's person. In all cases where the defendant uses self defence as a defence to a charge of assault or battery, the following five elements must be proven.
First, the defendant must prove that he reasonably believed that his act was necessary to defend himself. This defence is available even if it turns out that the defendant did not actually need to defend himself. As long as he reasonably believed that he needed to defend himself, he will be able to use this defence.
Second, the defendant must show that he reasonably believed that he was being threatened with physical harm.
Third, the defendant must show that the threatened harm was imminent.
Fourth, the defendant must show that he reasonably believed that the threatened harm was unlawful.
Fifth, the defendant must show that the threatened harm was of such a nature that it actually required the level of force that the defendant used.
Although these five elements must be proven in any instance in which the defendant claims self defence, one other element must be proven when the defendant has used deadly force on the victim. In such a situation, the defendant must additionally show that he reasonably believed that the other person was about to inflict death or serious bodily harm on him and that the deadly force he used in self defence was necessary to prevent the death or serious bodily harm with which he was threatened.
Therefore, the five elements of self defence exist to justify why it is necessary to use deadly force as a deliberate response to