In a civil proceeding or criminal prosecution under the common law or under statute, a defendant may raise a defense (or defence) in an effort to avert civil liability or criminal conviction. A defense is put forward by a party to defeat a suit or action brought against the party, and may be based on legal grounds or on factual claims. The defense phase of a trial occurs after the prosecution phase, that is, after the prosecution "rests". Other parts of the defense include the opening and closing arguments and the cross-examination during the prosecution phase.
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