Complete Defence of Necessity The defence of necessity operates where natural threats or human threats bear upon the accused, including the accused to break the law to avoid more serious consequences such as death and or grievous bodily harm. That means the defence of necessity overlaps to a certain extent with the defence of duress and the defence of self-defence. It will be held as a defence where: The crime must be done in order to avoid consequences which would have inflicted harm to the accused be it, mentally or physically, also an impact of those whom the accused was bound to protect. The accused must have reasonable grounds to believe that he/she was placed in an ultimatum where the outcomes are both consequences. The crime was done to avoid the consequence must not be out of proportion compared to the consequence. R v Dudley and Stephens Facts Tom Dudley and Edwin Stephens were aboard a ship, which sank on July 5, 1884. They and two other members of the crew, Brooks and Parker managed to get to a lifeboat with limited supply of food. After 20 days at sea the survivors had finished all of the supplies. Out of desperation Dudley pushed his penknife into Parker’s jugular vein, while Stephens held Parker down. Dudley, Brooks and Stephens fed on Parker’s body. The survivors were rescued the 29th of July. They were confident in themselves being immune from prosecution under the defence of necessity of survival. Issues Is necessity a defence to a charge of murder? Decision Stephens and Dudley were sentenced to death, as necessity of hunger does not justify larceny and murder. Stephens and Dudley chose the weakest and youngest to kill and it was not more necessary to kill him than any of the other grown men. Stephens and Dudley were tempted to kill Parker but temptation itself is not an excuse for murdering him. Their unfortunate circumstances also do not lend leniency to the legal definition of murder.