British Law on intruders to be reviewed


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papercut
December 7, 2004, 10:14 PM
From the BBC at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4075411.stm

(Since the BBC doesn't take down stories--at least, not yet--I'll only quote excerpts instead of the whole thing.)

"Law on intruders to be reviewed"

"Downing Street has agreed to clarify the law on intruders but has insisted householders can already use force to protect themselves in their homes."

Obviously, the Right Honorable Tony Blair ("Downing Street") hasn't been reading the news in England lately. (http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=3570962)

"Tory MP Patrick Mercer wants to pass a bill which would mean householders would only be prosecuted if they used "grossly disproportionate" force."

I'd love to hear an explanation of exactly how this would relate to Tony Martin. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/norfolk/3519987.stm) Does a homeowner--er, householder--have to wait until after a criminal has actually used force? Or is the implied threat of force enough? If a criminal threatens someone with a knife, is it acceptable to use a gun in self-defense, or is that "disproportionate" to the threat? (And if MP Patrick Mercer thinks it's too strong of a response by the victim, then I suggest he attend a knife-fighting class and see just how dead he would be if he were threatened with a knife and couldn't use a gun to fight back.)

Interestingly enough, the article says some police chiefs support the idea.

All of this makes me wonder what other details would be in the bill. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details.

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beerslurpy
December 8, 2004, 12:22 AM
I think it would be awesome if England started turning around some of the nanny state bull????. I was just in england visiting my relatives and my grandmother is ultra-conservative and she only reads the daily mail which basically does nothing but rail against the nanny state, the evils of NHS and the terrible damage that dumbing down education hass done. Awesome reading. Really. Then there is the Guardian, which is like a print version of the cops in Demolition Man, only with more socialism.

I love florida. Castle Doctrine is teh win.
Come into my house with a gun- I meet you with a gun.
Come into my house with a knife- I meet you with a gun.
Come into my house armed with harsh language- I meet you with a gun.
Florida doesnt have many burglaries.

Cool Hand Luke 22:36
December 8, 2004, 03:29 AM
"Tory MP Patrick Mercer wants to pass a bill which would mean householders would only be prosecuted if they used "grossly disproportionate" force."

This is a step in the right direction but will have little practical effect until the overly restrictive laws regarding gun ownership are loosened.

At the very least, self and home defense have to be made "good reasons" for ownership of rifles and shotguns. No more requirements for membership in shooting-hunting clubs, or varmiting.

The issuance of permits/licenses to own such needs to be put on a "shall issue" basis.

The UK would be in much better shape if a committee composed of entirely of people randomly selected from THR were put in charge of that place for a few years. :D

Leatherneck
December 8, 2004, 09:00 AM
BeerslurpyFlorida doesnt have many burglaries. Do the data back that up?

TC
TFL Survivor

Don Gwinn
December 8, 2004, 09:06 AM
CHL hit it on the head. It doesn't make that much difference as long as they're not allowed to own reasonably effective tools for self-defense.

This is like legalizing the building trade in a place that bans hammers, saws and measurement.

beerslurpy
December 8, 2004, 09:15 AM
without looking, I'm pretty sure Florida's crime statistics look really good if you dont include the counties that voted for Kerry (miami-dade and broward). The same could probably be said of NY or CA.

agricola
December 8, 2004, 11:09 AM
Folks, this is nothing more than a piece of rabble-rousing blather from the Tory Party eager to seize on what elements of the media have been stirring up since the first R v Martin that would have precisely no effect.

The Tory Shadow Home Secretary was interviewed on BBC Radio Five yesterday about this measure. He went on about how homeowners keep getting imprisoned for defending themselves, and how this was a disgrace, and how this proposal (which was originally buried as a PMB until the Commissioners comments over the weekend showed it might have legs) would change all that. The interviewer then asked if he could name these homeowners, and of course he could not, because noone has been imprisoned for defending themselves (the various cause celebre that have - Martin, Hastings etc - would be guilty under the new law as well), because the law as it stands already protects people who use force to defend themselves, as has been demonstrated on this forum and elsewhere numerous times.

Its just another sign of how, since IDS was booted for not being Blair-like enough (ironically this would have been of immense value now the issue of "trust" is going to dominate the next election), the Tories have lurched from one mistake to the next - the next election will probably spell the end of them as a political force, and they only have themselves to blame.

sturmruger
December 8, 2004, 12:48 PM
I wish people in the UK could think about things more clearly. If they passed a law that you could kill an intruder by what ever means possible I garuntee there would be a huge drop in the amount of home breakins. Coming up with some more fancy legal language is not going to help crime at all.

emc
December 8, 2004, 01:19 PM
Agricola, you've brought up something quite interesting. You made mention of the shadow home secretary, and while I've heard of shadow cabinet members, I would like to know what they can and cannot do. Is this simply a circumstance where the opposition party designates certain members to concentrate on particular issues and concerns, or is it more than that?

Thanks,

emc

agricola
December 8, 2004, 01:55 PM
emc,

Normally they have no function other than to mirror a minister and oppose him/her in debates, but on occasion (such as in the Iraq war) they are to an extent brought into the decision making process, or at least shown the information the decision is being made upon.

Mk VII
December 9, 2004, 02:05 PM
Private Member's Bills have virtually no chance of passing into law unless the government is in favour of them, or at least not opposed, (and sometimes not even then, as ordinary Members have numerous chances to obstruct their passage. This is one of the few things backbench MPs can still do). Government sometimes uses Private Member's Bills as a device to test the waters with a controversial measure which allows them to retain plausible deniability if the House rejects the Bill. The Foster Bill to ban hunting, which failed to pass, was an example of this. Ability to get his department's Bill through the legislature with as little change as possible is a test of the Minister's political virility, and if a Bill which the Prime Minister endorsed fails then the government would probably fall.

Zundfolge
December 9, 2004, 02:10 PM
"Tory MP Patrick Mercer wants to pass a bill which would mean householders would only be prosecuted if they used "grossly disproportionate" force."
Considering the British tradition of understatement, I wonder what would count as "grossly disproportionate force" ... I mean if someone breaks in with a 9mm and you shoot them with a .45 would that count as "grossly disproportionate"?

Dain Bramage
December 9, 2004, 02:34 PM
if someone breaks in with a 9mm and you shoot them with a .45 would that count as "grossly disproportionate"?

Silly Zundfolge! Those things don't exist in England.

A more accurately depicted confrontation would involve items specifically not intended for self defence. The dreadnoughts of such an engagement would be a cricket bat against sheep shears.

Or a spatula against a really big bowl of spotted dick.

Or chopstick nunchucks against Crab Rangoon throwing stars.

Or fish against chips.

You get the idea.

Mk VII
December 9, 2004, 03:03 PM
I've got a .45, didn't buy a 9mm though, got .357 instead.

Dain Bramage
December 9, 2004, 03:43 PM
Mk VII, I guess the realism of my examples got you. Should've thrown in a smiley face.

It could happen to anyone. I once mistook the ladies auxiliary recreation of the Battle of Pearl Harbor in Monty Python for "Tora Tora Tora". I also thought the chimney sweep dance in "Mary Poppins" was an exeptionally accurate depiction of the Battle for Roarke's Drift.

Now, unfortunately, I'll have to turn you in to Sherlock Holmes, who, as I understand it, has some strong contacts with Scotland Yard. :D

p35
December 9, 2004, 07:57 PM
See this:
http://news.scotsman.com/uk.cfm?id=1377062004

"THE murder of John Monckton and the attack on his wife, Homeyra, during an apparent burglary in their London home has once again highlighted the true dangers and indeed the legal and moral dilemma members of the public face when they are confronted with intruders on their own property.

From a police perspective, the advice to potential victims of burglaries is unequivocal and clear-cut and you should never "have a go", so to speak, but for the victims of crime this is a very difficult thing to put into practice, especially when your natural instincts are to defend yourself, your family and your own property - the very pillars of your life that are being violated and potentially destroyed by criminals.

As a law-abiding individual confronted by an intruder in your home you face a catch-22. If you attack the burglar, or react in an "over the top" manner, as was recently illustrated in the case of Tony Martin who shot intruders in his Norfolk farmhouse, you will inevitably end up on the receiving end of a prison sentence that will far outstrip that imposed on the intruder in your own home. This situation has resulted in a lack of belief in the law among the public or rather a belief that the law isn’t exactly on your side when your home is broken into...."

The author goes on with suggestions on how to avoid upsetting intruders you find in your home. Personally, I think the "Prone out or die" approach is more effective. Most burglars go to great lengths to avoid occupied houses in the US for just this reason.

agricola
December 10, 2004, 02:15 AM
p35,

I draw your attention to the above:

Folks, this is nothing more than a piece of rabble-rousing blather from the Tory Party eager to seize on what elements of the media have been stirring up since the first R v Martin that would have precisely no effect.

this can be illustrated by the following from that Scotsman article:

From a police perspective, the advice to potential victims of burglaries is unequivocal and clear-cut and you should never "have a go", so to speak, but for the victims of crime this is a very difficult thing to put into practice, especially when your natural instincts are to defend yourself, your family and your own property - the very pillars of your life that are being violated and potentially destroyed by criminals.

Utterly wrong, Police will always tell people that they have the right to defend themselves.

As a law-abiding individual confronted by an intruder in your home you face a catch-22. If you attack the burglar, or react in an "over the top" manner, as was recently illustrated in the case of Tony Martin who shot intruders in his Norfolk farmhouse, you will inevitably end up on the receiving end of a prison sentence that will far outstrip that imposed on the intruder in your own home. This situation has resulted in a lack of belief in the law among the public or rather a belief that the law isn’t exactly on your side when your home is broken into....

Utterly and demonstrably wrong. The reason why the public think "you will inevitably end up on the receiving end of a prison sentence" is because of irresponsible journalism such as this piece. Please note that aside from Martin (who has been discussed at length on these boards), the author cannot point to anyone who has been convicted for defending themselves. That is because noone has been

That article was also posted here: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=113779&highlight=dr+ian+stephen

iapetus
December 10, 2004, 07:07 AM
Under the current law, you can use lethal force in self defence if it would be justified. (And if you or your family are attacked in your home or fear for you life, then it would be considered justified).

Under the proposed law, you there would still have to be an investigation, possibly going to court, to establish the facts of the case. And it would still be illegal to gratuitously shoot a fleeing intruder that you no longer believed was a threat to you.

The only change I can see this new law making is the degree to which you can rough-up a burglar (it can be disproportionate, just not grossly disproportionate).

Provided you are physically able to rough up a burglar, as there is no proposal to legalise guns for self defence, or even pepper spray.

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