Thursday, 5 April 2018

The Reasonable Force Grey Area

Two men break into a pensioners house, threaten him with a screwdriver and in a scuffle the victim grabs the screwdriver and stabs the burglar to death open and close case you would have thought but unfortunately it doesn't quite work that way, just ask Tony Martin.
In 1999, Norfolk farmer Martin shot dead a 16-year-old intruder and got handed a life sentence for murder although this was later downgraded to manslaughter.
In 2008, Munir Hussain was jailed for 30 months for grievous bodily harm after attacking an intruder with a cricket bat and now Richard Osbourne-Brooks has been arrested on suspicion of murder after stabbing a burglar in his home.
The rights for how far a person can go to defend their home is a grey area, the use of 'reasonable force' doesn't really explain what constitutes 'reasonable force' and it is not defined by law but a person must show that 'do what they honestly thought was necessary at the time' to stay within the law.
Where Martin and Hussain fell down was the law says they shouldn't carry on attacking an intruder after they are no longer in danger, and as the intruders were running away when they were attacked by the home owners, they were deemed no longer in danger.
In 2013 the law was changed so that someone, confronted by a burglar, who genuinely fears for their safety or that of their family, can use force that is reasonable in the circumstances but you will be prosecuted if you use what the law terms 'grossly disproportionate force' including laying a trap, using extreme force or using a gun on an unarmed intruder.


Keep Life Simple said...

Ridiculous approach to personal safety and personal property rights.

Let me recount what I read to see if I understand:
1.) someone takes the overt action to break into your home - typically damaging your home in the process

2.) presumably with evil intent (theft, rape, assault, murder, abduction) - or are you supposed to ask them their intent and believe what they say...

3.) knowing that the potential for physical conflict is higher (especially at night)

And the burden is on the resident to "stay within the law"... THAT IS STUPID. I see why the burglary rate is so much higher in the UK than in the USA. Not much risk for the intruder(s) as the police won't show up for 30 minutes, and the resident cannot attack them... and, how do I know if someone is unarmed? And, what if it is multiple intruders? Too much complex bullshit in the UK. If you break into my house, I do not consider you innocent until proven guilty... you are guilty.

In America - - correction, in Texas, if the intruder(s) are able to get out of my house, with their numerous bullet wounds, I can no longer claim self-defense and thus can no longer use "deadly force" on them - - I can't shoot them in the back as they run away.

Keep Life Simple said...

reasonable force in the UK is unreasonable... for the innocent

Falling on a bruise said...

It's a grey area indeed, needs clarifying.

Keep Life Simple said...

i do not see what is gray about it.

if you break into my home (armed or not), I know you are a criminal willing to commit felonies. knowing you are a felon, to be safe, I must assume you are armed and willing to commit another felony, and thus treat you as if you are armed. in other words, i shoot first. or in the case if a Brit, stab, or throw a lamp at the criminal.

in the process,

if i incapacitate you (you are no longer a threat), then while you are incapacitated I kill you, that is two crimes: burglary by you, murder by me.

if I can somehow know with 100% confidence that you are unarmed and I kill you, it is still two crimes: burglary and murder. Unless, I think you are capable of killing me with your hands or feet, then it is once again self-defense, unless you turn away and run. If you advance however, then throw the lamp...

if I know with 100% confidence that you are running away to escape (not to get a weapon) and I kill you, same two crimes.

. . . . . . .

In Texas, we can now shoot (changed circa 1985) a criminal if they are on your property and are running away, if we think they have stolen items. I find this personally objectionable, but hey, that is the risk you take being a burglar in Texas.

Keep Life Simple said...

oh yeah, as the resident, I don't have to prove I knew I used unnecessary force.

It is the burden of the government to prove I knew better.

After all, the resident was at home minding their own business. The burglar created the conflict and acted will evil intent.

Falling on a bruise said...

But you are not the UK law so what you would do in Texas is irrelevant to what the British law says can happen, which is unclear, hence the grey area.

Keep Life Simple said...


so, genius, why is it gray?

Falling on a bruise said...

Because it's unclear

Keep Life Simple said...

seems clear the way you described it. you brits don't have the right to defend yourself with a weapon - even in your own home. also, personal property rights are limited.

so, if someone breaks in to your home, you should run out of your home. go to the nearest safe place and call the police. they will get to your home in time to keep you out...

Falling on a bruise said...

It's the 'reasonable force' statement, nobody knows what is reasonable and even the policeman on the TV talking about it could only give a vague 'enough to protect yourself' which is not helpful.

Keep Life Simple said...

right, i get it. that is what i said in my last comment.

if you, the supposed victim, must wait for the "criminal" to expose a weapon or attack you before you can use deadly force, then you effectively do not have the right to defend yourself (because if you give the "criminal" the first move, you have almost no chance of defending yourself).

therefore, your only safe option is to run away from your own home. tricky with old folks or children or disabled folks... guess I would have to protect my people and then face life in prison.

i find it shocking that someone can enter your homes in the UK and you have to ask "if i defend myself or try to protect my property, am I following the law".

i much prefer the approach in Texas. if you enter my home without my consent, then i can assume you have evil intent, and I can used deadly force to defend myself, family, friends, and property. I do not have to give the criminal first move. of course, even in Texas, if they turn away from me and i think they are trying to escape, i cannot use deadly force once they get out of the house.