Also commonly known as “self-defence”, Private Defence is a type of legal defence that may be able to absolve a person of any legal liability if the person hurt or killed another person to defend himself/herself.

Under sections 96 to 106 in the Singapore Penal Code, Private defence includes the defence of your life and body from physical harm such as hurt and rape. The law also includes defence of your property, or of another person’s, either movable ones like a car, or immovable assets like a house against theft, robbery, mischief or criminal trespass.

What are the requirements for the right of Private Defence? For this defence to succeed in court, the defendant must show:

  • There was no opportunity to seek police protection during the incident
  • He/she was not attacking a police officer who was trying to subdue him/her
  • A mentally unsound person was trying to attack him/her
  • However, this defence cannot be used against a public servant carrying out his/her duties.

What are the circumstances that may require Private Defence?

According to Section 99(4) of the Penal Code, a person cannot inflict more harm than is necessary for self-defence. Therefore, it has to be made clear that the attacker has been repelled or defeated, but if you continue the beating, then it may no longer be considered Private Defence.

However, in cases where the person kills an attacker, only certain circumstances as defined in Sections 100 and 103 of the Penal Code are applicable for the right of Private Defence:

  • The person was being assaulted and had reasonably apprehended death or grievous hurt if defensive action had not been taken
  • The person was being kidnapped or raped
  • The person was being robbed
  • The person’s house was being broken into at night
  • The person had received threats of mischief by fire

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Practice has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

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