Can you believe it? UK citizens starting to speak out.


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g_gunter
October 26, 2004, 12:41 AM
It was very encouraging to me when I read the following story:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/10/24/navago124.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/10/24/ixnewstop.html

It seems the Brits are starting to fight back against their draconian laws against defense of one's castle.

g_gunter

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LiquidTension
October 26, 2004, 12:53 AM
It's still sickening to see the responses of the people that have already been attacked. "Something that would emit an electric shock would do."

Morons. Pray that we never let our government reach the same state.

g_gunter
October 26, 2004, 01:09 AM
Here is another one just hitting the press in the UK (Same paper).

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/10/26/nshot26.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/10/26/ixnewstop.html

The Sunday Telegraph began a campaign at the weekend to give householders stronger and clearer powers of self-defence on their own property.

It sure would be nice if some of our newspapers would begin campaigns to push for the right of people to defend themselves.

g_gunter

agricola
October 26, 2004, 05:27 AM
How is this "UK citizens starting to speak out"? The law has once again been shown to justify self defence, in direct contradiction to what Lott and Malcolm. and their imitators on this board, have been peddling ever since I joined TFL. Who can be found to denounce those people?

FWIW the case does not "have echoes of Tony Martin" because the farmer in this case used the force in self defence, not to shoot someone in the back as they were running off.

Old Fuff
October 26, 2004, 10:24 AM
agricola:

Admitedly I am a bit fuzzy about the laws in the U.K.

Exactly when, and under what circumstances can someone use a firearm for self defense?

Cool Hand Luke 22:36
October 26, 2004, 11:44 AM
The law permits the use of "reasonable force" as a method of self-defence against intruders. What "reasonable force" constitutes, however, is difficult to define, leaving vulnerable people unsure of what force they can use to protect themselves and their homes. The Home Office, admitted to this newspaper last week: "There is no definition of what is 'reasonable force'."

The Sunday Telegraph believes that the law must be changed so that once intruders enter someone's home with the intent of stealing, or raping or assaulting them, they lose their rights to protection from the law.

It seems like what's being called for here is just an explicit definition in the law of a reasonableness standard for self-defense in the home, not some new right to defense. That right already exists.

My take on the article is that those calling for the new laws want a explicit reasonableness standard for 'competence' in making a decision as to when to employ deadly force in a home defense scenario. They'd like to be able to shoot and not be held to the same standards as a Police Officer with years of professional training.

agricola
October 26, 2004, 06:06 PM
Old Fuff,

If you mean "carry a firearm for self defence", then only in very limited circumstances. If you mean "use a firearm in self defence", then the law does not distinguish between any item used to defend oneself - even illegally held weapons can be used for self defence, though of course there is the matter of the possession of that item.

Coolhand (he has me on ignore so I cannot reply to him) would have you believe:

My take on the article is that those calling for the new laws want a explicit reasonableness standard for 'competence' in making a decision as to when to employ deadly force in a home defense scenario. They'd like to be able to shoot and not be held to the same standards as a Police Officer with years of professional training.

The law has never held any defined action as "reasonable" - certainly not from the standpoint of a police officer (though if the defendant was Pc and the issue was one of training, then it might). The law as it stands, for a defence of self defence to be made out, requires that all the defendants circumstances - age, strength, past history (in this case the break in), the time of the offence and anything else of relevance - and determines whether the force used was reasonable from the defendants standpoint, not from an abstract.

This is a long winded process, but it is infinately better than what the Telegraph want and has - with one exception that was reversed on appeal ( R v Shannon, and that was due to a misdirection from the judge)- consistently done what is right and proper; ie that those who use force in self defence are not guilty, those who claim self defence when it has not in fact been used are convicted.

When the Telegraph says:

The law permits the use of "reasonable force" as a method of self-defence against intruders. What "reasonable force" constitutes, however, is difficult to define, leaving vulnerable people unsure of what force they can use to protect themselves and their homes. The Home Office, admitted to this newspaper last week: "There is no definition of what is 'reasonable force'.

It is largely because of the Telegraph, and the rest of the media that trumpeted, and continue to trumpet, Tony Martin's failed defence as evidence the law needs changing. Martin shot a burglar in the back as he was running off. That is not self defence, by any definition.

Standing Wolf
October 26, 2004, 06:55 PM
Martin shot a burglar in the back as he was running off. That is not self defence, by any definition.

Perhaps not, but it was justice.

Headless Thompson Gunner
October 26, 2004, 07:18 PM
I might shoot somebody in the back too, under similar circumstances.

How do I know he isn't just moving to a more advantageous position to attack me from? Maybe my family or neighbors are approaching, and he's moving to attack them. Nothing magical happens when soembody turns their back towards you that makes them suddenly cease to be a threat. And even if there were, he could always turn around again to face you.


The Sunday Telegraph believes that the law must be changed so that once intruders enter someone's home with the intent of stealing, or raping or assaulting them, they lose their rights to protection from the law. This is exactly right. I makes me feel good to know that people are starting to catch on.

g_gunter
October 26, 2004, 10:18 PM
quote:The Sunday Telegraph believes that the law must be changed so that once intruders enter someone's home with the intent of stealing, or raping or assaulting them, they lose their rights to protection from the law.

Headless Thompson Gunner responds:

This is exactly right. I makes me feel good to know that people are starting to catch on.

Amen! That's what I'm talking about! That's my point!

g_gunter

agricola
October 27, 2004, 05:43 AM
yawn

If the Telegraph wants to allow people to kill burglars, then fine. They should not dress it up as "self defence" however.

Headless, if "I might shoot somebody in the back too, under similar circumstances" is correct then you should have your guns taken away from you - Martin was a mentally ill individual (from evidence presented at his appeal) who had a long history of idiotic behaviour with guns - shooting at people he thought we stealing apples, shooting out a neighbours windows after a disagreement etc.

Also is a more advantageous position "climbing out of the house"?

atek3
October 27, 2004, 06:10 AM
agricola. How would the UK be any worse if Parliment passed a "castle" rule similar to what many US states have? "Castle rule" basically states that anyone entering your home with evil intent can be presumed to be a threat. If they don't comply with an order to leave, they can be stopped by any means necessary. For example, if a sound wakes you up in the middle of the night, so you grab your shotgun and head downstairs. You encounter a masked burgler with a wrench in his hand. You say, " Get out of my house," instead he moves towards you. If you shot him and he died. In england, shotgun vs. wrench probably wouldn't meet the "reasonable force" standard. You might get charged. In California, once the police had accertained that the shooting was indeed legitamate, the prosecutor wouldn't press charges.

atek3

agricola
October 27, 2004, 06:43 AM
atek,

thats the thing - shotgun vs wrench would be a legitimate use of force in that scenario. the following is from Textbook of Criminal Law via Tim Lambert's weblog:

The carrying of firearms and other offensive weapons is generally forbidden, but (1) a thing is not an “offensive weapon” if it is not offensive per se and is carried only to frighten; (2) a person does not “have it with him” if he merely snatches it up in the emergency of defence, and (3) there is the defence of “reasonable excuse” where the defendant acted reasonably under an “imminent particular threat affecting the particular circumstances in which the weapon was carried.”

and in terms of proportionality itself

§23.3. THE PROPORTIONALITY RULE

In the example of the proportionality rule given at the beginning of §23.2 the use of the gun may be “necessary” to avoid the apprehended evil of being slapped, but it is disproportionate to that evil, and therefore unlawful. “For every assault it is not reasonable a man should be banged with a cudgel” (Holt CJ). The proportionality rule is based on the view that there are some insults and hurts that one must suffer rather than use extreme force, if the choice is between suffering the hurt and using the extreme force. The rule involves a community standard of reasonableness and is left to the consideration of the jury. It can bear hardly on the defender, but much depends on the way in which judges and juries administer it; and that, again, may depend on whether they happen to empathise with the frightened defender or with his injured (or dead) assailant. If the defendant’s reaction was disproportionate, the attack he feared or was resisting will go only in mitigation.

The previous examples of the proportionality rule are too trivial to be helpful. The real-life problem arises where a person is fiercely attacked by a bully whom he can resist only by the use of a lethal weapon. It is now so common for brutal men to kick their opponent about the head after he has been felled to the ground that anyone who is attacked may reasonably dread this possibility.

In order to give proper width to the right of self-defence an Australian court stated the law negatively: “Would a reasonable person in the defendant’s situation have regarded what he did as out of all proportion to the danger to be guarded against?” A somewhat different approach to the problem was adopted by the Court of Appeal in Shannon, basing itself on the following dictum of Lord Morris:

“A person defending himself cannot weigh to a nicety the exact measure of his necessary defensive action. If a jury thought that in a moment of unexpected anguish a person attacked had only done what he honestly and instinctively thought was necessary that would be most potent evidence that only reasonable defensive action had been taken.”

Approving this statement, the Court of Appeal quashed a conviction because the trial judge had not conveyed the point to the jury and had not directed them broadly in Lord Morris’s words. The real issue, the court thought, was: “Was this stabbing within the conception of necessary self-defence judged by the standards of common sense, bearing in mind the position of the defendant at the moment of stabbing, or was it a case of angry retaliation or pure aggression on his part?” In future, an instruction to the jury in these terms will evidently be necessary in many cases of self-defence.

The facts of Shannon were that the deceased, a heavily built man who had convictions for violence, had been making threats against Shannon for having (as he believed) “grassed” him. Shannon, who had no history of violence or aggression, must have been living in fear of an attack for some time. When the attack came he fought back, the fight (though evidently largely one-sided) being described by a bystander as “pretty frightening.” Shannon’s evidence was that he was being held very tightly by the neck and was being dragged down and “kneed;” he feared that if he fell while in the grip of his attacker he would have “got beat up by his feet.” He lashed out with a scissors and inflicted a fatal blow. On the issue of self-defence the judge left the case to the jury with the bald question: Did the defendant use more force than was necessary in the circumstances?” On this the jury, surprisingly, returned a conviction of manslaughter. The conviction was quashed, as already said, for inadequate direction to the jury; but the Court of Appeal expressed no other criticism of the verdict. We are left with the impression that if in a similar case the judge reads out Lord Morris’s dictum to the jury, who nevertheless convict, the conviction will stand.

On the dictum, it is not easy to see how “what the defendant thought” could be evidence of what it was reasonable for him to do. The usual opinion is that the question what is reasonable, in the multifarious applications of that word, is for the unaided vote of the jury, and is not a matter for “evidence” in the ordinary way. It looks very much as though the dictum is a way of escaping from the test of reasonableness without acknowledging the fact. This conclusion is strengthened by the above-quoted remark of the Court of Appeal, which (epitomising a lengthy statement of Lord Morris) distinguishes sharply between “necessary self-defence” on the one hand and “angry retaliation or pure aggression” on the other. The dichotomy allows no place in between for unnecessary but putative self-defence. All putative self-defence, it seems, falls into the category of “necessary self-defence.” In this part of the judgment, the idea that the defendant’s belief is merely evidence of reasonableness has suddenly vanished; indeed, the very word “reasonable” is dropped. It seems, therefore, that the decision makes a radical change in the law. At least where the defender fears death or serious injury, there is no proportionality rule any longer; and a good thing too—in view of the jury’s verdict in Shannon. German law, it seems, gets on without a proportionality rule, and so could we, where the facts are similar to those in Shannon. The reasoning in the decision is fudged, but that is the price one pays for a beneficial change in the law.

agricola
October 27, 2004, 06:51 AM
to continue...

atek,

The problem here is that the current law is perfectly suitable; it works well at determining whether or not the circumstances are as claimed by the person seeking to claim self-defence (R v Shannon aside, but that was cleared on appeal because of a misdirection). The law already works well in the manner you would intend "castle doctrine" to be applied.

Its difficult to find a worse case than Tony Martin's to build a campaign on (which is what this is - a campaign by the media of exactly the same type as the post-Hungerford and post-Dunblane kind), for the reasons already cited. This thread, and the Telegraph article, are evidence of a strange phenomena where the legal system of England and Wales is derided for working as it is intended to do, in the face of all the media pressure over here, and the efforts of Lott, Malcolm et al over in the US.

In short, bad cases make bad law.

ps: the link for the above is off this blog (http://cgi.cse.unsw.edu.au/~lambert/cgi-bin/blog/guns/UK/gullible4.html)

G36-UK
October 27, 2004, 03:31 PM
Thing is, things have gotten a little worse here. There was the dropping of charges against that guy who defended his home, but shotguns aren't available to everyone except FAC holders.

Plus, there's almost no defensive weapons legally allowed in theis country now. Pepper Spray, Tazers, almost anything concealable is illegal. Just a few months ago, they banned the sale of collapsible batons.

IIRC, over here "reasonable force" is something along the lines of equal damage, for example if they have a knofe, you can retaliate with your own knife, anything more is unreasonable.

Wouldn't mind a castle rule myself.

carebear
October 27, 2004, 03:46 PM
So the law is functioning more or less as intended but the prosecutors, chiefs of police et al. are pushing the "call the police" "don't fight back" "let us handle it" line in the press (who's major outlets philosophically agree) and the elected officials keep passing laws to make that self-defense less effective (weapons controls) rather than both groups honoring the spirit of the Common Law on the issue and emphasizing the right of the people to defend themselves and enabling them the tools to do so?

Sounds like DC, Detroit and Chicago. :rolleyes:

atek3
October 27, 2004, 03:47 PM
IIRC, over here "reasonable force" is something along the lines of equal damage, for example if they have a knofe, you can retaliate with your own knife, anything more is unreasonable.

agricola would disagree.

agricola
October 27, 2004, 05:41 PM
atek,

Its not "agricola would disagree", he is wrong - if he wants to demonstrate how he is correct, then let him post up the links that prove it, as I have; but as the link already proves, he is wrong.

Headless Thompson Gunner
October 27, 2004, 10:33 PM
Headless, if "I might shoot somebody in the back too, under similar circumstances" is correct then you should have your guns taken away from you - Martin was a mentally ill individual (from evidence presented at his appeal) who had a long history of idiotic behaviour with guns - shooting at people he thought we stealing apples, shooting out a neighbours windows after a disagreement etc.

Thankfully I don't live in the UK, else your wish would already have come true.

Here's the deal: I don't care if the guy is mentally ill. I don't care if he has a history of doing unusual things with guns. I don't care if he's shot at other people in the past. None of that matters.

What matters is that someone was in his home uninvited, with ill intent. Under those circumstances, he has a right, if not an obligation, to defend himself and his family. No amount of personal character flaws can strip him of that right.

The Telegraph is correct, any criminal who doesn't repsect the law doesn't deserve protection under the law. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. If you risk my life by attacking me, I'll have no qualms about risking yours by defending myself.

In short, if you don't want people to defend themselves against you, don't attack people. Why is this so hard for some people to understand??

carebear
October 28, 2004, 04:02 AM
HTG,

He sure as hell has the right to defend himself and his family, but if he was a nutter (which the court docs show) he probably shouldn't have firearms around to do it with. If he didn't previously cause unjustifiable harm it wasn't due to lack of trying. :D

There has to be, or will be, better cases to support a more "American" castle doctrine renaissance in England than Martin.

Again, it appears to be, case after case, more a problem with "enforcement administration philosophy and legislation" than actual black-letter law.

And we have that here aplenty. :fire:

Dammit, I hate it when I hae to change my tune!

edited to add- actually I meant "have" but I'll kick some Celt props to my Scots brothers, yo. :D

agricola
October 28, 2004, 04:26 AM
headless,

The Telegraph is correct, any criminal who doesn't repsect the law doesn't deserve protection under the law. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. If you risk my life by attacking me, I'll have no qualms about risking yours by defending myself.

which is a nice way of recreating the "outlaw" status of the middle ages. the law already provides for robust self defence, up to and including the use of lethal force. it also (which is what did for Martin) is rather good at distinguishing between those who use that force legitimately and those who claim its protection falsely.

Martin, as I have repeatedly said, lied about what happened and was found guilty. This farmer told the truth and didnt even get charged. That should be a lesson for everyone.

Justin
October 28, 2004, 06:23 AM
which is a nice way of recreating the "outlaw" status of the middle ages. And with typical British understatement Agricola pretty much tells us that if Britons were actually allowed to defend themselves that blood would run in the streets. Does that sound familiar to anyone else?

the law already provides for robust self defence, up to and including the use of lethal force. It does? But I thought you said that it was nigh on impossible for the average citizen of Airstrip One to carry a defensive baton/pepper spray/pistol on his/her person.

This farmer told the truth and didnt even get charged. That should be a lesson for everyone. And a cynic would tell you that this farmer wasn't charged because The Powers That Be™ have grown weary about being drug over the coals as a result of the Tony Martin incident, and would prefer not to raise the ire of the general populace any further.

agricola
October 28, 2004, 07:06 AM
Justin,

And with typical British understatement Agricola pretty much tells us that if Britons were actually allowed to defend themselves that blood would run in the streets. Does that sound familiar to anyone else?

Wrong again. What headless said was:

any criminal who doesn't repsect the law doesn't deserve protection under the law. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. If you risk my life by attacking me, I'll have no qualms about risking yours by defending myself.

In essence, he says here that any criminal who doesnt respect the law (which is clear, since they are criminals) doesnt deserve the protection of the law. Hence, any person who breaks the law does not deserve his protection - putting them outside the law. The second part of his statement about self defence already exists here, as has been proved, repeatedly, by both the law and events.

It does? But I thought you said that it was nigh on impossible for the average citizen of Airstrip One to carry a defensive baton/pepper spray/pistol on his/her person.


Self defence is not the same as RKBA, as you well know.

And a cynic would tell you that this farmer wasn't charged because The Powers That Be™ have grown weary about being drug over the coals as a result of the Tony Martin incident, and would prefer not to raise the ire of the general populace any further.

The cynic would be wrong (hardly surprising, the cynic has been wrong all the way through the cynics post).

On one hand you have a small number of cases where people have gone beyond the law and been punished for it; on the other you have a rather larger number of people who have defended themselves or others and (flying in the face of this boards "wisdom") not been brought to trial, and in many cases lauded for their efforts.

But why bother admitting that one of this boards most cherished beliefs is in fact a big old pile of steaming BS? After all, its not as if the next lot of stories that come around wont do it for you (the last ten didnt, so I wont hold out much hope).

Dain Bramage
October 28, 2004, 12:23 PM
It's just about time for all non-fans of circular reasoning to give it up. Anyone expecting Ag to lay down and admit defeat will have to endure a long series of arguments on the definitions of "lay" and "down".

Ag has once again defined the argument down to his own little circle of turf, which has nothing to do with the original thread. Self defence is allowed in Britain because the law says it is, and the law is good because it works within the confines of its own parameters as layed down in the law. Never mind that the article is about British subjects questioning the clarity and scope of the self defence laws. Ag waves it away with his magic wand as a "media trumpet". The law is not amused.

If there is any question in the minds of the American board members that we are speaking different languages:

Self defence is not the same as RKBA, as you well know.

I would say most of the people here would disagree. As long as we let Ag define the terms, it is like debating a Leninist in 1923; the effort gets the blood up but is ultimately useless.

richyoung
October 28, 2004, 03:04 PM
Allowing self defense but denying access to the tools to effectively do so is akin to having freedom of the press, but being prohibited from using ink, paper, or letters. But then again, The "Mother Country" has the "Official Secrets" act, so I guess they are used to being chattel by now, how far they have fallen! Thank God I'm still a free man in a free country - at least for a little while yet. (Reminds me of why we threw the ir buttts out....)

BTW - in Texas, under certain conditions, DEADLY force is allowed in defense of property - should be all places.

agricola
October 28, 2004, 05:49 PM
dain,

It was very encouraging to me when I read the following story:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/mai.../ixnewstop.html

It seems the Brits are starting to fight back against their draconian laws against defense of one's castle.

g_gunter

This is what the thread was about, the question that was posed. There is no "draconian law against defense of ones castle", as should be abundantly clear as I have supplied the proof (proof that was rejigged by Joyce Lee Malcolm). You could at least note this. This is not a matter of language, meaning or anything else - you and the rest of the people that subscribe to this are wrong.

igor
October 28, 2004, 09:12 PM
Sorry for the slight hijack, but you've got to tip a hat to Mr Bolt, 81 , who served in the Second World War, was stabbed twice by an intruder at his Northumberland home in February 2001. Mr Bolt was upstairs with his wife when they heard a noise. He went to investigate and was confronted by a burglar armed with a knife. The two struggled and the thief stabbed Mr Bolt twice before fleeing through a window. "The chap had a knife and so I was entitled to have a go at him. I think, in law, if he's got a knife, I think I'm entitled to kill him, but I don't know what the law is in detail. "It is a funny thing to try and manage with the law because your reaction in those situations is immediate - you don't stop and think: 'Gosh, what does it say in the book about this?'. "I'm an ex-Royal Marine so my reaction was quite active and wholly motivated by self preservation. I would certainly have tried to finish him off if I had something in my hand at the time, but that is a reaction, an instinct. Whether it is legal or not I don't know." Quite frankly, why should he give a darn :p ;) :confused:

White Horseradish
October 28, 2004, 09:29 PM
The carrying of firearms and other offensive weapons is generally forbidden, but (1) a thing is not an “offensive weapon” if it is not offensive per se and is carried only to frighten; (2) a person does not “have it with him” if he merely snatches it up in the emergency of defence, and (3) there is the defence of “reasonable excuse” where the defendant acted reasonably under an “imminent particular threat affecting the particular circumstances in which the weapon was carried.”

There are a number of things in this that bother me. Why are you not allowed to carry an object for actual defence rather than vague "frightening"? What defines something as frightening? What defines something as "offensive weapon"?

How can a vague law like this be effective?

mountainclmbr
October 29, 2004, 01:47 AM
The self defense and gun laws in Great Britain, Canada and Australia should be a big RED flashing warning to us. The politicians who worship European laws just want the power for themselves at our expense.

Dain Bramage
October 29, 2004, 10:57 AM
This is not a matter of language, meaning or anything else - you and the
rest of the people that subscribe to this are wrong.

...and this includes The Telegraph, the people that they quote, and all the other Brits that disagree with you. Luckily in Ag-land there is only one interpretation and opinion of any law. All the lawyers and barristers in the world can now go find other lines of work.

agricola
October 29, 2004, 11:30 AM
Dain,

Provide the evidence, please. One wonders how someones mind works when:

Martin is convicted = "UK citizens have no right of self defence"
this farmer isnt charged = "UK citizens have no right of self defence"
someone else isnt charged = "UK citizens have no right of self defence"
pioneer of DNA dies = "UK citizens have no right of self defence"
man eats pie = "UK citizens have no right of self defence"

What exactly do you base your beliefs on?

Dain Bramage
October 29, 2004, 01:07 PM
Evidence is something that is brought before a court. Here we deal in opinion.

My secular legal opinions can be cited from two basic sources. They start with: "When in the course of human events.." and "We the People.."

Now, I realise this doesn't fly across the Atlantic, which is the major reason for the dislocation of discourse between this American-based board and our British brethren. We get the majority of our input from the UK media, which I'm sure is just as accurate as the American media in presenting cultural reality. The opinions of many board members, which trend conservatively and pro-gun (who'd have guessed), disagree with the stories we are hearing.

Now, my understanding is that your beef is a literalist reaction to generalised statements that British law does not allow self-defence. I WILL GIVE YOU THAT. British law, however broad or narrow, does allow for self-defence. However, we DISAGREE over the provisions of those laws. Sources for those disagreements include the lovely excerpts you have printed. Speaking for myself, I can think of two major disagreements off the top of my head.

1. Decoupling self-defence and the means of self-defence is wrong. Dunblane is part of the problem. Lack of RKBA is part of the problem.

2. Proportional response is wrong, and especially concerning a home invasion. I am a proponent of the Castle Doctrine, and I strongly disagree with you on "The law already works well in the manner you would intend "castle doctrine" to be applied". In my state the general standard is "Reasonable fear for life and safety of myself and others", although I would not be averse to a Texas-style defence of property statute.

You, of course, are allowed a differing opinion. This being a gun board, just don't expect the hallelujah converts to be thick on the ground.

agricola
October 29, 2004, 06:27 PM
dain,

To respond:

Now, my understanding is that your beef is a literalist reaction to generalised statements that British law does not allow self-defence. I WILL GIVE YOU THAT. British law, however broad or narrow, does allow for self-defence..

Well its nice to hear it from someone at least. One of the main annoyances for me is that "generalised statements that British law does not allow self-defence" are exactly what the likes of Lott and Malcolm have been making ever since I started on TFL.

1. Decoupling self-defence and the means of self-defence is wrong. Dunblane is part of the problem. Lack of RKBA is part of the problem.

First you accuse me of:

Ag has once again defined the argument down to his own little circle of turf

and then you go and do exactly the same thing. As it happens this point can be answered quite neatly. There is a separation between self defence and possession of weapons in the legal system of England and Wales (for that matter Europe as well) - self defence is not affected by the legal status of the weapon held.

2. Proportional response is wrong, and especially concerning a home invasion. I am a proponent of the Castle Doctrine, and I strongly disagree with you on "The law already works well in the manner you would intend "castle doctrine" to be applied". In my state the general standard is "Reasonable fear for life and safety of myself and others", although I would not be averse to a Texas-style defence of property statute.

This is another myth, answered already by the link I posted above from Williams:

All putative self-defence, it seems, falls into the category of “necessary self-defence.” In this part of the judgment, the idea that the defendant’s belief is merely evidence of reasonableness has suddenly vanished; indeed, the very word “reasonable” is dropped. It seems, therefore, that the decision makes a radical change in the law. At least where the defender fears death or serious injury, there is no proportionality rule any longer; and a good thing too—in view of the jury’s verdict in Shannon.

Which is not that far from:

In my state the general standard is "Reasonable fear for life and safety of myself and others"

is it?

publius
October 30, 2004, 08:31 AM
There is a separation between self defence and possession of weapons in the legal system of England and Wales (for that matter Europe as well) - self defence is not affected by the legal status of the weapon held.

Is it affected by the legal ability to hold a weapon?

agricola
October 30, 2004, 08:54 AM
publius,

not sure what you mean - but the legal status of the carriage of a weapon is irrelevant when the Court determines if it was used in self defence.

publius
October 30, 2004, 09:02 AM
I mean it's hard to use a weapon in self defense if you don't have it, and making it illegal makes it harder to have it.

You're up very late or very early, so go to bed or good morning.

agricola
October 30, 2004, 09:22 AM
Its 1300 here.

Also, when one talks about burglars and self defence (as this thread is), the point you raise is even less valid because the laws against public carriage of knives, batons etc dont apply on private property.

publius
October 30, 2004, 11:42 AM
Hah! Got my time zones backward again. I do that. Anyway, good afternoon to you.

For self defense in public, I'd like to hear your response to my argument.

For self defense on private property, I believe it may apply as well. I don't know the rules over there, but I have a bunch of different guns readily accessible in my home. I don't have a license to own any of them because it's not needed here. My understanding is that your government would have made it harder for me to keep a variety of guns ready to use in my home, thus made it harder to use a gun in self defense.

But we Yanks have lots of mistaken impressions, so correct me if I'm wrong. :)

Dain Bramage
October 31, 2004, 01:48 AM
Hah! Got my time zones backward again. I do that. Anyway, good afternoon to you.

Publius, I did the same thing recently, asking why Agricola wasn't in bed. His reply was along similar lines. Surprising he has any respect for us, when we damn Yanks can't keep the time straight.

Anyway, saying that illegal weapons are legal to use for defense is a specious argument, and we will have to keep disagreeing on this (very large) point.

At least where the defender fears death or serious injury, there is no proportionality rule any longer

This doesn't seem to have worked for Martin. Does proportionality appear and disappear according to the prosecutor's whim? It is my understanding that the burglar was within the residence when he was shot, and according to the Castle Doctrine, it would have been a clean shoot. Lying to the police is a separate charge.

Obviously there are extremes examples for everything. If the burglar is found with his hands bound and a bullet hole in the back of his head, you are in trouble. However, in Castle Doctrine, the "fear for life and safety" is a given when someone breaks into your home. If the burglar is mobile and capable of harm, C.D. is generally an affirmative defense.

agricola
October 31, 2004, 04:52 AM
Dain,

The reason it didnt work for Martin is because he lied about what happened in order to make it look as if he was in danger, when in fact he was not - the evidence suggested he was climbing out of a window when Martin fired.

I appreciate this could be turned around to "climbing in", but when Martin insists on his story that he fired as he came down the stairs as a torch was shined on him - which was palpably false - its not an avenue open to his defence.

Would castle doctrine in that instance cover someone clearly fleeing?

Publius,

It does make self defence harder, but on the other hand there is less chance that the attacker will be armed. In any case, its a matter for the people of the UK as to which they want, and that law has been in place for fifty years without rivers of blood.

publius
October 31, 2004, 08:03 AM
You all make your choices, but I'd point out that attackers in every society are almost universally young men. Victims are frequently not. A young man doesn't need to be armed to defeat an old woman, but the old woman does need to be armed to be able to defend herself against a young man.

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