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Air of reality test refers to a pre-requisite test conducted to weigh the defense against a criminal charge. The defense should have sufficient evidential value. The evidential foundation is referred to as the air of reality.
Under the U.S. law, even if the accused has not raised the defenses in his/her case, the trial court judge is bound to put forward to the jury all those defenses which arises on the facts. However, the accused has a duty not to raise those defenses which lacks evidential value or air of reality.
Two instances, air of reality test can be applied are:
1. A prima facie case has been made against the accused.
2. An affirmative defense like insanity defense is raised by the accused.