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Top defence lawyers frequently get their clients off hefty charges – let’s not forget OJ Simpson. But what about defences for fictional villains? Would they have reversed their “villain status” if they had received better legal advice? We argue the defence for some of fiction’s most notorious criminals.

Gollum: My client falls under the age of criminal responsibility. I mean, sure, he’s 600 years old, but he both looks and acts like a child therefore should be deemed incapable of having committed a criminal offence. Additionally, he is not guilty by reason of insanity. He clearly has bipolar disorder as he literally flips between Gollum and Sméagol, frequently referring to himself as “we”. We intend to settle this matter out of court as no one wants to hear Gollum’s horrible swallowing noises during the proceedings. 

Darth Vader: My client is clearly intoxicated. The fumes from the Death Star are enough to put anyone in a comatose state, therefore mens rea is not made out. Being a bad father, picking a fight and ranting about “the force” are all indicative of intoxication. Also, my client is wearing a mask, therefore how can you prove it was him? You can’t. Even his iPhone face ID can’t do that.

Scar: Look, my client made a mistake. He genuinely believed that killing Mufasa was justifiable because he wanted to be king. Who wouldn’t want to be king and have a sing-along about it? We plead mistaken fact and urge the court to consider mitigating factors such as discrimination against his scar. People literally called him Scar. He had another name, you know. Anthony. 

Ursula: My client was clearly within her right to take Ariel’s voice, as it was outlined in their agreement and constitutes consideration per contract law. Ursula gets Ariel’s voice in exchange for living as a human for three days. The fact that Ariel wasn’t able to secure a kiss from Eric is a failure to perform the contract. Thus, if anything, my client should be awarded damages. 

Sweeney Todd: Have you ever just had a bad hair day and blamed your hairdresser? Well, that’s what these complaints against my client are. The impossibility defence is appropriate on these facts, as everyone knows cheap hairdressing scissors are too blunt to kill someone. I mean, they can barely chop a straight fringe.

Cruella De Vil: My client is a businesswoman, not a criminal. Sure, she turned puppies into coats, but my gosh she looked fabulous doing it. The doctrine of necessity supports her actions at it was necessary to look that hot. Moreover, she is very rich and can pay off any judge or juror. 

Voldemort: The defence of automatism is applicable here as my client clearly cannot breathe out of his nostrils. A lack of oxygen makes it hard for him to control his muscles and his mind. Further, my client does not accept the validity of being named in this suit as, in case you missed it, he must not be named.