Help understanding UK defense laws


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Jon_Snow
January 21, 2011, 05:33 PM
So I'm embroiled in a debate with some friends across the pond about gun laws. I think I understand the ownership laws over there, but I can't get a good handle on their laws on self-defense. As best I can tell, they boil down to:

"You can use a reasonable amount of force to defend yourself from a crime."

It seems like they always have a duty to retreat first. If retreat isn't possible, you can use force equal to that of the attack to defend yourself. That doesn't sound all that different from our own laws. But I don't see how that meshes with the case a few years ago of a model who scared away burglars with a knife and being told that SHE broke the law by using an 'offensive weapon'. Link Here (http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Showbiz-News/Myleene-Klass-Knife-Warning-Marks-And-Spencer-Model-Warned-Over-Waving-Kitchen-Knife-At-Teenagers/Article/201001215518164). Anyone know what I'm missing?

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D123
January 21, 2011, 06:05 PM
It seems the story you quote was either exaggerated by the press or the models agents (a bit of extra publicity?)
I found this:
http://www.whtimes.co.uk/news/hertfordshire_police_deny_giving_myleene_klass_knife_warning_1_35428
However, a police spokeswoman told the Welwyn Hatfield Times they had NOT issued any kind of warning to Myleene about using a knife during the incident.

She said: “For clarification, at no point were any official warnings or words of advice given to the home owner in relation to the use of a knife or offensive weapon in their home.”


There was a case in the UK in the last few years where a homeowner stabbed a burglar to death and successfully claimed self defence (I can't remember enough details to find anything on Google), but the self defence law is as follows:

The general principle is stated in Beckford v R (1988) 1 AC 130:
"A defendant is entitled to use reasonable force to protect himself, others for whom he is responsible and his property. It must be reasonable."

Frank Ettin
January 22, 2011, 01:01 AM
For an excellent study of the rise in violent crime, and the erosion of gun and self defense rights in Great Britain see Guns and Violence, the English Experience by Joyce Lee Malcolm (Harvard University Press, 2002). It's well worth reading.

FIVETWOSEVEN
January 22, 2011, 01:22 AM
Knife as an offensive weapon? In what century?

gc70
January 22, 2011, 02:16 AM
1,825 murders (http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_20.html) involving "Knives or cutting instruments" in the US in 2009.

UKarmourer
January 22, 2011, 02:46 PM
The use of any purpose built weapon can land you a whole world of pain.
My home defence system?
25kg loyal boxer dog & 90kg of military owner
LEDwave 85 lumen
ASP baton.

The last item would probably get me jail time if used.

A kitchen knife would probably be ok as it would class as 'heat of the moment' if you thought your life was in danger, not if it was in the bedroom however!

Our laws suck, fact!( 5 years and 5 months to push)

brickeyee
January 22, 2011, 04:48 PM
The actual enforcement of the laws is far more draconian than a simple reading reveals.

Folks have been jailed for using shotguns to defend their house.

metalman8600
January 22, 2011, 07:10 PM
The UK (its definitely not England anymore) and "self defense" don't go together.

Owen Sparks
January 22, 2011, 10:14 PM
UKarmourer said:

The use of any purpose built weapon can land you a whole world of pain.

and

A kitchen knife would probably be ok as it would class as 'heat of the moment' if you thought your life was in danger, not if it was in the bedroom however!

If I were in your unfortunate situation I would make sure that there were plenty of suitable things handy that I could grab 'in the heat of the moment' such as a cricket bat, right next to a several other articles of sporting equipment you just happen to store in your bedroom closet. I knew a guy who lived up North and he always carried a two foot length of steel pipe in the front seat of his truck in case he needs a deadly weapon. The way he got away with it was he also had a few pipe fittings, elbows and t's and a pipe wrench on the seat beside it. No one could prove that he had not been doing a bit of plumbing. The butt half of a 2 piece pool que also makes a fine bludgon and should be legal anywhere provided you have the other half with it. You were after all on the way to shoot snooker when he attacked you.

Be creative and plan ahead!

JellyJar
January 22, 2011, 11:57 PM
Perhaps it is true that no "official" warning was given to the woman. I suspect that "unofficial" advice was offered! :(

Edit: Also read the post at the top of this page by THR member jamesbeat and the others he posted afterwards.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=6159839&highlight=england#post6159839

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