Englishmen and their Castle

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Englishmen and their Castle

Post  Chris on Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:23 am


The right to defend yourself in your home has often been a hot topic.

It only takes one report of an individual being detained and questioned in relation to an event which happened at their home and immediately there is a groundswell which seems to believe that a wholesale change of the legal system is required. Usually the underlying belief is that a home-owner should be allowed to do anything they wish to anyone who trespasses on their property.

Aside from the fact that the current legal framework in the UK is perfectly adequate and acceptable to protect innocent people who have to defend themselves in their own homes. I am significantly concerned by the illogical nature of the proposals put forward by politicians who are desparate to do no more than grab votes through a nifty sound-bite.

It is difficult enough to apply the rule of reasonableness with any degree of harmony and consensus amongst the general population without adding in even more un necessary tests and requirements.

So... the idea is that in exceptional circumstances it may be allowable to use disproportionate force.

okay... taking a simple view to begin with. Break down the component parts of the defence.

what constitutes "exceptional" circumstances? What makes an intruder exceptional? What makes their conduct exceptional? what happens if they are not exceptional? Who tells us how to behave if they are exceptional and if they are not?

What is disproportionate force and how is that tested? Reasonable causes difficulty now how do you quantify a test where you are ALLOWING someone to act in a way which is acknowledged as being out of proportion (i.e. unreasonably) in light of the threat faced. What is reasonably disproportionate force. When does it apply?

All of the current tests for the defender in his own home revolve around honestly held belief in the moment and reasonable actions. That is pure logic at work, i.e. "How did you feel in the moment and were your actions reasonable in the moment in light of how you felt?"

When do we intent to ask defenders to weigh up the unspecified exceptional circumstances before they can act in an unspecified but disproportionate i.e. UNREASONABLE way? What do we do while the poor defender is busy trying to quantify these intangibles and is beaten to death in his own home.

Those who complain that not enough protection (and by that they mean freedom to rip, maim and kill any intruder in their home) may initially rejoice at the idea of the new proposal but the reality is grater confusion, greater danger to the defender and greater difficulty for the criminal justice system when attempting to apply yet more ambiguous and meaningless legislation.

Our common law legislation used to be a work of linguistic art and defined meaning. We are reduced to a Daily Mail soundbite because politicians have no interest in maintaining a working and just Criminal Justice System they are only concerned with keeping the mob happy.

boils my blood. Evil or Very Mad

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