(Australia) HOME OWNERS RIGHT TO USE FORCE


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Drizzt
January 6, 2003, 05:02 PM
Copyright 2003 Nationwide News Pty Limited
The Advertiser


January 6, 2003, Monday

SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 1

LENGTH: 522 words

HEADLINE: New self-defence laws;
HOME OWNERS RIGHT TO USE FORCE

BYLINE: By Political Reporter LEANNE CRAIG

BODY:
PROPOSED new laws giving people the right to use "whatever force they deem necessary" to defend themselves against a home invader will be introduced to State Parliament in March.

At present, householders who injure someone breaking into their home must satisfy a court the force was reasonable and that the average person would agree with them.

Premier Mike Rann said yesterday the rights of householders must take priority over the rights of criminals. "What a judge might consider to be reasonable can be quite different to what someone does to defend themselves against a home invader at 2am," he said.

"We are giving South Australians the right to use whatever force they deem necessary to defend themselves against attack."

Attorney General Michael Atkinson said the proposed changes would make householders feel the law was on their side and allow them to use "a higher level of force than the intruder" to prevent them entering the dwelling or causing an offence once inside.

But the Opposition warned the proposed legislation might lead to drug dealers evading justice.

"Experience has shown that most 'home invasions' relate to drug crops," Opposition justice spokesman Robert Lawson said. "We are keen to support genuine householders defending themselves, but not to make it easier for drug dealers to assault drug dealers with impunity from the law."

Mr Lawson accused the Government of "political point-scoring", saying current legislation had been effective.

Two versions of the new laws have been drafted and will be considered by State Cabinet.

The Government is undecided whether greater protection for householders should extend to those engaged in criminal activities - such as growing cannabis - at home.

Mr Atkinson said the matter probably would be put to the Parliament to decide. Householders were "very rarely" charged with an offence for injuring a housebreaker, he said.

"But, we are aiming to reduce that number further and we want householders to feel more secure that the law is on their side," Mr Atkinson said.

Similar laws had applied in SA until 1997 when a "reasonable force" requirement was brought in by the former government.

Maximum penalties of life imprisonment already applied to violent home invasions and would not change under the new laws, Mr Atkinson said.

Law Society immediate past president Chris Kourakis said the proposed changes were unlikely to affect trial outcomes.

"Juries are never likely to convict people who are defending themselves in their own home," he said. "At the same time, everyone should appreciate that if this legislation is enacted, it is still only actions done in self-defence that will excuse a crime.

"Retribution or vengeance on the housebreaker will still be an offence."

Mr Rann said several new draft laws would be introduced to Parliament early this year, including removing the drunk's defence and giving councils greater powers to prevent bikie gangs constructing suburban "fortresses".

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TheeBadOne
January 6, 2003, 05:05 PM
Anyone from down under have a take on this?

schmo
January 6, 2003, 05:27 PM
it is still only actions done in self-defence that will excuse a crime

commit the crime of defending your property. no way.
defend your person? well maybe we will excuse that crime.

Ian
January 6, 2003, 05:44 PM
"Australians may use any force they deem appropriate in defending themselves. 'Course, we already banned everything using bullets, so they'd better start practicing with those boomerangs."

4v50 Gary
January 6, 2003, 06:06 PM
Do the Aussies have anything left with which they may repel boarders?

Bruce in West Oz
January 6, 2003, 08:10 PM
Do the Aussies have anything left with which they may repel boarders?

A more difficult question than it seems. I don't live in South Australia, but Western Australia, which is basically the same as regards firearms laws, as indeed is most of the country.

Yes, we are allowed to possess and lawfully use permitted firearms. So it is possible that some 1 000 000 Aussies will have access to a firearm with which they can defend themselves or family (note: NOT property).

The catch is that my firearms have to be stored in a locked steel gun cabinet of "approved" design, with the bolt and ammo in a separate, also locked, compartment inside that cabinet.

To get to the gun cabinet, retrieve the keys (hidden), unlock both compartments (separate keys), remove rifle and bolt and insert bolt, remove ammo and load rifle, is going to take me ...... too damn long. If I manage to do it, then obviously my life or that of my family wasn't in immediate danger OR my firearms were stored illegally.

Of course, there's always the PSE compound bow on the wall, or the jarrah mini-baseball bat beside the bed, or the Wusthof Trident knives in the kitchen or ..... ;)

Bruce

Mk VII
January 8, 2003, 12:31 PM
same rules here; your lot probably copied them from us.

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