If you have been charged with a criminal offence, you might argue mistake of fact. A mistake of fact may apply as a defence to a crime you have been charged with.
What is a Mistake of Fact?
Under Queensland’s Criminal Code, a person who does an act under an honest and reasonable, but mistaken, belief in the existence of any state of things is not criminally responsible for the act to any greater extent than if the real state of things had been such as the person believed to exist.
Therefore, if the person charged with an offence, under the presumption of a mistake of fact then it is arguable that they are not criminally responsible to any greater extent than if the real state of things had been such as he believed to exist.
Section 24(1) of the Act, requires consideration of whether the person’s believe, based on the circumstances as he or she perceive these to be, was held on reasonable grounds. As such, it would be necessary to determine what a reasonable person would have done in the same circumstances. See R v Julian. Since the focus is on the person’s belief rather than the theoretical reasonable person, the information available to the person and the person’s circumstances, including whether that person has an intellectual impairment of language difficult, are relevant in considering whether a belief was reasonably held. See R v Mrzljak.
Have You Been Charged with a Criminal Offence?
If you have been charged with a criminal offence and believe that it may be the result of a mistake of fact, talk to us today. You need to know your rights under the law, so you can act to protect them immediately. Particularly before memories fade, evidence is lost, or witnesses disappear. You should not wait to get help, because the longer your criminal defence lawyer has before trial, the stronger your defence can be.