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Honest and Reasonable Mistake of Fact

Is there a question of a honest and reasonable mistake of fact in your situation?

A criminal lawyer may be able to provide advice to assist in your defence.

honest and reasonable mistake of fact

The Common Law provides a defence to criminal offences where a person’s conduct has arisen from an honest and reasonable mistake of fact.

This defence applies to all criminal and traffic offences not classed as ‘Absolute liability’ or for the which the defence has otherwise been expressly excluded by legislation. The defence may apply to offences such as Theft, Driving Whilst Disqualified and other offences for which a person’s state of mind is a relevant factor.

In order to raise the defence, a person’s mistake must be:-
• One of fact not law;
• Honest and reasonable; and
• Must render a person’s conduct innocent.

Mere absence of knowledge or ignorance of a fact is not enough. A person must have a positive belief based on reasonable grounds in order for the defence to apply.

If a person raises the defence of honest and reasonable mistake of fact, they must provide evidence upon which the mistake was based and if found to be reasonable, Prosecution then have the burden of disproving the mistake of fact beyond reasonable doubt.

We can assist if you have been charged with an offence and believe that the defence of Honest and Reasonable Mistake of Fact may apply.  Call our  Adelaide criminal lawyers at Williams Barristers and Solicitors on (08) 8451 9040 for an appointment today.

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