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Stand your ground

It seems that the UK may finally be starting to turn around on self defence laws.

Cameron has just made a statement that if a burglar is stabbed by a homeowner then provided the homeowner used reasonable force it is legal and he would not be prosecuted.

Personally, I have an issue with what is reasonable force. I assume it means if I shot him then that is not acceptable. If he was stabbed in the back while he was trying to escape or chased down to do so then that is still illegal. Nor can you tie him up and give him a good kicking. So looks like stabbing him in a legally described manner is the only way to go with these scum.

It is not perfect. We will also be watching how this pans out with a burglar that was stabbed the same day of the announcement. I suspect that the actual meaning of reasonable force will be discussed to death. in the meantime the homeowner and all present in the house have been arrested and DNA profiles taken. So it looks like Plod is again playing hardball. For the last few years only they could legally terminate a UK citizen without fear of penalty.

One to watch but hopefully the start of a turnaround. Fingers crossed.

6 comments to Stand your ground

  • moosedog

    It’s not actually a turnaround, the law regarding reasonable force has been in place for as long as I can remember. If you kill a burglar/mugger/assailant etc you will of course be arrested but if you can prove you didn’t use excessive force then you won’t be prosecuted. In theory. If you believed, at the time, that your life was in danger then you’d be perfectly within your rights to kill that person. Proving it is another matter but as someone once told me, it’s better to argue the point in a court of law than from a mortuary slab. So, if a frail old lady breaks in because she is hungry it wouldn’t be reasonable, or very nice, to kill her. If, however, a group of armed, masked, men break in and you quite obviously feel your life is in danger then it’s OK to fight back and if necessary use lethal force. It’s all a matter of common sense so if you shoot some scrote in the back as he’s running away it’s illegal as he isn’t a threat to your life at that time. It would just be revenge and that’s no excuse in the eyes of the law regardless of what you, or I, may think is right.

  • Skean Dhude

    Moosedog,

    That is not right. If you used a knife when the 7ft 275lb burglar did not have one you were guilty of escalating the issue. Reasonable force meant an equivelant force. He was unarmed so you had to be, he had a knife it was OK for you to pop down the shop and buy one if he was going to wait.

    Although it is a positive statement the gov has a history of saying the right things and not delivering so I watch with interest.

  • moosedog

    I hate to labour a point but a case comes to mind from 1985 when Kenneth Noye stabbed an unarmed policeman to death and was acquitted of murder after pleading self defence. The policeman was undercover and carrying out surveillance when Noye found him in his garden. I’m sure the policeman would have identified himself but as Noye was the only witness this could not be proved. So a suspected criminal finds an unarmed man lurking in his garden, kills him and says he did so because he feared for his life. Innocent of murder but jailed for conspiring to handle stolen gold and evading VAT payments. Not even for manslaughter. Not much justice for the life of a serving police officer out trying to protect an unappreciative public from a lowlife criminal like Noye.

  • Skean Dhude

    I hate to labour a point but in 1985 I could buy a pistol and a SLR and didn’t have ammunition restrictions like we do now. Everything changed in the late 90s and this is the first thing that looks like it may reverse the trend if it actually takes off.

    I remember that case. It was another case where an obvious criminal got off on a technicality. Now of course innocent people get convicted on technicalities. I preferred it back then.

  • moosedog

    You may find this of interest, especially “Does the law protect me? What is reasonable force?” and “What if the intruder dies?”

    http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/prosecution/householders.html

  • Skean Dhude

    Moosedog,

    It is the end result that counts not the words. I have a low opinion of political words. I want to see the actions instead.

    From that document you can persue people to make a citizens arrest. What if he turned on you and you then killed him? I think your pursuit would be misconstrued. Prove otherwise in front of hostile witnesses with 20/20 hindsight.

    It also talks about setting traps. Does that cover keeping a knife to hand or setting trip wires?

    Like I said lets see the results not the words.

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