Using Self-Defense as a Defense in Assault Cases in Canada

If you are charged with assault in Canada and plan to plead not guilty, one of the defenses you and your Saskatoon criminal lawyer might use is self-defense. Today, we’ll tell you more about this defense and answer common questions about using it.

What Is Self-Defense?

Self-defense is when someone uses force to protect themselves from an attacker. It can be used as a criminal defense in assault cases, and the amount of force you can use will depend on the circumstances. For instance, if someone is coming at you with a knife, you can’t shoot them in self-defense – the force you use must be reasonable in the situation.

When Can You Use Self Defense?

You can only use self-defense if:

  • You reasonably believe that you’re about to be harmed; and
  • The force you use is reasonable under the circumstances.

If both of these things are true, then you can use self-defense as a criminal defense in Canada.

What Is a Reasonable Belief?

A reasonable belief means that a person believes, based on the circumstances, that they are about to be harmed. It doesn’t matter if they’re actually in danger – what matters is whether or not a reasonable person would believe they were in danger, based on the information they had at the time.

What Is Reasonable Force?

Reasonable force is the amount of force a reasonable person would use in the same circumstances. It can’t be more force than is necessary to protect yourself from harm – so, if someone is coming at you with their fists, you can’t shoot them in self-defense. The force must also be proportional to the threat – so, if someone is coming at you with a knife, you can’t use a bat to defend yourself.

In Canada, there are three main factors that courts will look at to decide if the force used was reasonable:

  • The nature and quality of the assault
  • The extent to which the force used increased the risk of harm
  • Whether there were any other ways to defend yourself.

If you are facing assault charges, contact a Saskatoon criminal lawyer to determine the best defence for your case and prepare a plan for moving forward.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: