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Necessity

From Academic Kids

Necessity (as a term of jurisprudence) is a possible justification for breaking the law. Defendants who use this defense are arguing that they should not be held liable for a crime, since the actions taken were, for some reason or other, "necessary". In an early trial for which this defense was used, Regina v. Dudley & Stephens (1884), two shipwrecked sailors decided to eat a cabin boy. The court ruled that cannibalizing the individual was not necessary; the sailors were found guilty of murder. Other courts have ruled, in cases where the eaten individual had died of "natural causes" and starvation was an issue, that cannibalism was acceptable. Most common law jurisdictions do not allow this defense to be used in case of murder.

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