The claim of irresistible desire and the agranat doctrine

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In this article, I will consider several of the general questions raised by the rule that has long guided Israeli courts when faced with a claim of irresistible desire. The claim can be portrayed thus: “Indeed, the defendant perpetrated the act constituting the offence, and did so consciously (as distinct from certain situations of automatism), while aware of the nature of his conduct and knowing that his conduct was unlawful (as opposed to instances of mistake of fact or law). However, although there was no justification for his conduct (as distinct from certain situations of necessity), he has an excuse in that the conduct was the result of a desire he was unable to resist”.

This claim may be employed as a defence intended to show that the defendant is not morally culpable for his conduct. But, in this article, I shall consider the claim of irresistible desire as a defence intended to exempt the defendant from criminal responsibility. The two are not necessarily related. Criminal responsibility — as opposed to moral culpability — is a function of law. And what the law establishes in one country may differ from what it establishes in another.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-184
Number of pages46
JournalIsrael Law Review
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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