Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Monday 25 January 2010

Force and self defence

The story of farmer Martin is back in the news again, as a man is released from Jail after his appeal in a higher court was upheld.He and his brother had surprised a career burglar. His brother had joined in the chase as the burglar escaped the house and fled down the street. When they caught the felon, they allegedly set about him with a cricket bat. The courts later released the man because he told them he suffered from brain damage. Later he reoffended within weeks of his release. The victim of the crime, who had been defending his property and his family was imprisoned for using excessive force. I am reminded of a Tom Sharpe story, I think it was 'Riotous Assembly' where Constable Els attends the scene of a burglary in which the remains of the perpetrator is plastered all over a tree, having been shot with an elephant gun. Els recovers the remains and puts them inside the house and tells the victims that because the burglar was inside the house, they were perfectly entitled, in law, to shoot him.

Well, we don't want a bent police force, but we do expect some measure of justice from the authorities stretching down from the Ministry of Justice, through the courts to the 'bobby' on the beat. If you find someone in your home you are entitled to use appropriate and proportionate force to protect yourself. What a load of crap! How can you in the heat of the moment, estimate what is appropriate and proportionate. Your adreniline filled mind reverts to the flee or fight mode in which the niceties of philosophical debate do not apply. If you cannot flee, because say your wife and children are in their bedrooms, you fight. Not with measured force, calculated to the exact erg or Newton per square foot, but with as much force as you can apply with the nearest tool that comes to hand. Are the only people who cannot appreciate this, those judges and ministers who, living in their ivory towers, can never be expected to suffer this type of crime. They expect that you use minimal force but what is that? If you tap a burglar he may later recover and become twice as dangerous as before, using his own force to escape arrest by bludgeoning you, possibly to death. Would that better satisfy the courts? Would the judge be more comfortable with that scenario?
To my mind, when confronted with a masked and possibly armed burglar you attack him with as much force as you can muster with the best tool you can put your hand on. The heavier and harder the better. The courts should back you up to the hilt on the following grounds:-

1. He, by exercising his own free will to enter your property illegally, should forfeit all his human rights. The excuse that he was under the influence of self administered drugs should not be allowed.

2. The householder, having no free will in the matter, should be permitted to take whatever steps he wants to rid himself of the danger to both his property and himself, including his family. This should extend to his garden and adjoining land. Remember that farmer Martin, a man of good character went to bed with no thoughts other than going to sleep. Through no fault of his own he is later jailed. If the man he'd shot had gone to bed he'd be alive today and farmer Martin wouldn't have gone to jail.

3. The police, when attending the scene should do so with the urgency this crime demands. It is a frightening experience for the victims and the police should be concerned for their welfare before giving any consideration to the burglar.

There should be NO latitude in giving any credit to the perpetrator of the crime.They are not victims of society and are not due any leniency from the law abiding majority.

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