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Securing Fair Outcomes for Battered Women Charged with Homicide: Analysing Defence Lawyering in R v Falls

43 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2015 Last revised: 25 Feb 2015

Elizabeth A. Sheehy

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Julie Stubbs

University of New South Wales (UNSW, Australia) - Faculty of Law

Julia Tolmie

University of Auckland

Date Written: January 31, 2015

Abstract

Despite law reforms intended explicitly to improve their prospects of receiving fairer consideration within the criminal justice system, it is still the case that most battered women accused of homicide are not successful in relying on self-defence. Defending battered women charged with homicide offers substantial challenges for defence lawyers. Acquittals leave little trace in standard modes of legal reporting and thus there are few opportunities for defence lawyers to examine the advocacy of their peers. In this article we document strategies that may support successful outcomes with specific reference to R v Falls, in which a battered woman charged with murder in ‘non-confrontational circumstances’ was acquitted on the basis of self-defence.

Keywords: battered women, homicide, self defence, R v Falls

Suggested Citation

Sheehy, Elizabeth A. and Stubbs, Julie and Tolmie, Julia, Securing Fair Outcomes for Battered Women Charged with Homicide: Analysing Defence Lawyering in R v Falls (January 31, 2015). (2014) 38 Melbourne University Law Review 666.; UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2015-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2558613

Elizabeth A. Sheehy

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

Julie Stubbs (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW, Australia) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Julia Tolmie

University of Auckland ( email )

Private Bag 92019
Auckland
New Zealand

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