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streaky

Original Poster:

19,311 posts

135 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
The Daily Telegraph 9 October 2012 said:
Householders who attack burglars will not face arrest or prosecution unless they use “grossly disproportionate” violence, the new Justice Secretary will announce today.

Chris Grayling is to change the law “at the first opportunity” to give stronger legal safeguards to those who use force to protect their family or property.

Speaking to The Telegraph last night, Mr Grayling said that he wanted to “finally lay the issue to rest once and for all” following a series of high-profile cases where home owners who have confronted criminals have been arrested. In the future, only those using clearly excessive force, such as stabbing a burglar who was already unconscious, should face the prospect of criminal action, he said.

Mr Grayling, who will address the Conservative Party conference today, said that he wanted to bring a “sharper narrative on law and order issues”. His first move would be to change the law to give greater protection to home owners. It currently says only that they are entitled to use “proportionate” force.

Mr Grayling said: “The basic premise of the change is to get the law to a position where if you are in your home, and you are confronted by an intruder… then if, in the heat of the moment you use a level of force that in the cold light of day might seem disproportionate, the law will be on your side."

He added: “You need to look at it that way round because it’s very much about the juxtaposition of the heat of the moment and if you act in a disproportionate way in the heat of the moment, the law will be on your side.

“But if you act in a grossly disproportionate way … I think if the burglar is out cold on the floor and you then stick a knife into him, that, in my judgment would be grossly disproportionate."

The Government has already changed the law in an attempt to ensure that those acting in a “reasonable” way when confronting burglars are not prosecuted. But Mr Grayling said that people still faced uncertainty and the threat of arrest and that new laws were now necessary.

“This should finally lay the issue to rest once and for all," the Justice Secretary said.
Successive governments have pledged to address the issue since the case of Tony Martin, the farmer prosecuted for shooting dead a burglar in 1999.

Confusion about householders’ rights remains.

Last month, Andy Ferrie and his wife Tracey were held in police custody for almost three days after two burglars were shot in their house near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. Three years ago, Munir Hussain, a Buckinghamshire businessman, was sentenced to 30 months in jail after he chased a burglar down the road and beat him with a cricket bat and metal pole.
The burglar had tied up Hussain’s family and threatened them with a knife.

Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, said last month that householders had the right to use force “to get rid of the burglar”.

Mr Grayling stressed that he did not wish to move towards an American-style system where people were effectively free to kill anyone entering their property.

“At the moment, that lingering doubt, every time the issue arises, this question seems to come back: is the law on my side or not?" he said.

“My view is that someone who defends themselves against an intruder should be interviewed as a witness not as a potential offender."

In his speech Mr Grayling, who was promoted in last month’s reshuffle, will strike a far more hardline tone than his predecessor, Kenneth Clarke.

It is understood that the Prime Minister wants to reform the justice system radically and hopes that forthcoming proposals will prove as significant as the overhaul of education and welfare.

Mr Grayling will pledge to increase the number of prison places before 2015 and to “deliver sentences that create a sense to the public that justice is being done”.

He will promise to ensure that all community sentences include a “punitive element” such as a fine or curfew. He will say to the conference: “Yes, we should be looking to rehabilitate. But if someone has committed an offence, they also need to receive a proper punishment for it.”

Victims of anti-social behaviour and low-level crime will be able to choose how those responsible are punished, he will say.

Police will offer victims a “menu” of possible punishments, including compensation, repairing damage or doing unpaid work in the community. The new “community remedy” will vary from area to area, with options drawn up by the new police commissioners.

Mr Grayling also disclosed last night that he was working on significant reforms to human rights laws, an issue which is expected to form the centrepiece of the next Conservative election manifesto. He did not rule out the Conservatives backing a plan for Britain to opt out of the European Court of Human Rights if David Cameron is re-elected.

“The Conservative Party and indeed the public overwhelmingly think that the current human rights framework under which we are operating has gone badly wrong,” he said.

“When you have a situation where people who are clearly intent upon killing, maiming in this country or destroying aspects of our society, for them to be able to plead human rights as a reason not to be returned to their country of origin is just to my mind totally unacceptable.

“No change is not an option.”

One of the first big decisions facing Mr Grayling is how to deal with a recent European Court ruling which means that prisoners should be given the vote.

Parliament has voted to defy the ruling and ministers have until the end of November to respond.

Mr Grayling said that “discussions” were still going on. “We’ve got to work this through carefully,” he said.

“David Cameron has said that the idea of giving prisoners the vote makes him physically sick. Parliament has voted to express its sympathy for that perspective.”
We'll see ... but I'm not holding my breath on all points.

Streaky

triumphkryten

234 posts

49 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
Quite agree with you..... But it would be nice for the system to be rebalanced even a bit - the whole "ooman rights" bandwagon has rolled on too far and fast for too long, and as far as I can see the only winners have been less than scrupulous lawyers and criminals..

daz3210

5,000 posts

126 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
David Cameron said:
.. that the idea of giving prisoners the vote makes him physically sick. Parliament has voted to express its sympathy for that perspective.
I guess that is one (possible) justification for considering the death penalty then? [/toungueincheek]

Certainly I agree that the wrongdoers have far too many rights, but I cannot help but think that there will still be a blurred line as to what is or isn't acceptable, unless the law is changed such that it is specific what is permitted. Simply saying proportionate to me leaves a degree of judgement to be held, and one man may judge ever so slightly different to the next.

Fozziebear

1,047 posts

26 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
Hmmmm just off to place the claymores in the garden

Frik

12,507 posts

129 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
Fozziebear said:
Hmmmm just off to place the claymores in the garden
Make sure they're signposted!
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Zeeky

2,519 posts

98 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
Speaking to The Telegraph last night, Mr Grayling said that he wanted to “finally lay the issue to rest once and for all” following a series of high-profile cases where home owners who have confronted criminals have been arrested. In the future, only those using clearly excessive force, such as stabbing a burglar who was already unconscious, should face the prospect of criminal action, he said.

How do the Police, when attending the scene know whether or not someone was stabbed whilst unconscious and what does the 'Justice Secretary' mean by "criminal action"? Does that include arrest as part of an investigation into how the burglar was stabbed?

Mr Grayling said: “The basic premise of the change is to get the law to a position where if you are in your home, and you are confronted by an intruder… then if, in the heat of the moment you use a level of force that in the cold light of day might seem disproportionate, the law will be on your side."

Someone needs to advise the 'Justice Secretary' that the law already is in the position he claims to wants to change it to. That is why householders are rarely charged in these circumstances.

Breadvan72

19,730 posts

49 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
Indeed. This is pandering to meeja furore and public ignorance. The extant law works pretty well. Every recent case in which a householder has used defensive force against an intruder has resulted in exoneration of the householder. The last case involved the householders being detained for too long, but the result was still that the injured scrotes were jailed, not the householders. If this is the criminals winning, I wonder what happens when they lose.

Also, this is nothing to do with the Human Rights Act. Self defence is a well established Common Law concept.

Dave Hedgehog

7,289 posts

90 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
Zeeky said:
Someone needs to advise the 'Justice Secretary' that the law already is in the position he claims to wants to change it to. That is why householders are rarely charged in these circumstances.
The law allows reasonable force, but the courts have been siding with the owners more recently, he said he wants the law to be clearer from the start in that owners can go beyond reasonable force without having to fear the courts, but obviously not going as far as allowing the execution of an incapacitated crim

seams sensible to me

Breadvan72

19,730 posts

49 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
So, how do you define lawful unreasonable force? The current test is based on subjective fear, and allows a wide margin of reaction to a perceived threat.

Tony 1234

1,683 posts

113 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
Breadvan72 said:
Every recent case in which a householder has used defensive force against an intruder has resulted in exoneration of the householder. The last case involved the householders being detained for too long, but the result was still that the injured scrotes were jailed,
The trouble is the householder should not have to spend days locked up whilst the police/CPS decide what to do? once a statement has been given they should be free the same day.

R0G

4,064 posts

41 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
Will the law prevent injured burglars from sueing the householder ?

Zeeky

2,519 posts

98 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
I don't think the Courts have been siding with anyone as it is rare for anyone to be prosecuted.

I suspect you misunderstand the legal meaning of 'reasonable force'.

Here is a pointer.

Lord Morris in Palmer v R 1971

If there has been attack so that defence is reasonably necessary it will be recognised that a person defending himself cannot weigh to a nicety the exact measure of his necessary defensive action.


In other words the force can be excessive and still be reasonable in the circumstances. The circumstances may justify what "in the cold light of day" would be excessive.


La Liga

3,101 posts

42 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
Groundhog day. We hear this one every time Tory politicians start to think of the next election.

Every time I hear this I wonder where the distinction will be made for the boundaries. So I can use disproportionate force (judged in the cold light of day) in my house, but how about in my garden if we spill out fighting there? What if we go into a public place, such as the street? What if it starts off as an assault in my garden and I use disproportionate force but turns into a burglary in my house? Commercial or only dwelling burglaries? When do previous use of force laws kick back in?

I assume it'll apply to the police as the current laws make no distinction between public and the police. Say I attend a burglary of an empty property and find someone stealing the copper piping, can I use disproportionate force and leave them with serious injuries?

BBC said:
The Government has already changed the law in an attempt to ensure that those acting in a “reasonable” way when confronting burglars are not prosecuted.
No they didn't.

BBC said:
But Mr Grayling said that people still faced uncertainty and the threat of arrest and that new laws were now necessary.
Unless you make it so arrest isn't the most advantageous way to secure and preserve evidence - and the best way to prove a house-holder defended themselves - then it's always going to be preferred option.

It won't change as it doesn't need to change.






Breadvan72

19,730 posts

49 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
R0G said:
Will the law prevent injured burglars from sueing the householder ?
Can you cite any case of a successful lawsuit by a burglar against a householder?

R0G

4,064 posts

41 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
Breadvan72 said:
R0G said:
Will the law prevent injured burglars from sueing the householder ?
Can you cite any case of a successful lawsuit by a burglar against a householder?
Not in the UK


Derek Smith

20,569 posts

134 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
The test is largely subjective. What is important is what is in the mind of the householder.

I can't see this making any difference whatsoever. There are other legal constraints on what one can do to aother person and a change to one bit of legislation isn't going to alter that.

It's a bit of headlining during a conferance that is likely to be 'difficult' for Cameron.Whilst people are talking about this they are not mentioning how popular his rival for the top job is.

7db

5,951 posts

116 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
Aha. It's that weasel word "grossly" - as recently seen in "grossly offensive" (S172 Communications Act), and interpreted to mean "poor taste joke". I suppose if the burglar brings a gun and you stab him with a knife then that's "grossly disproportionate" albeit in his favour.

Justice should be predictable and laws clearly stated so that you know if you're breaking them. Anything else isn't good legislation. And I'm afraid the need to create soundbites is not the mother of good legislation.


MrBrightSi

1,379 posts

56 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
As stated, once the boundries are re-drawn, they need to be re-drawn again. Im sorry but these situations need to be looked into, there cannot be a cookie cutter outcome for any of these. Suddenly stating all intruders are open to violence of the home owner make me think that sooner or later someone is bound to invite someone they don't appreciate round for a friendly beating, then only to hide behind "HE BROKE IN!".

daz3210

5,000 posts

126 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
The highest profile case that I can remember of recent times is that of Tony Martin. Of course he shot the burglars in his garden.

Now, if I were to have been in a similar situation to him (i.e. living on a remote farm, and had been burgled many times before), if I were to have been cleaning my shotgun, to be confronted by unknown intruders late at night, would it be reasonable to shoot them as they came towards me?

My own views are split.

1. Shooting is disproportionate to the immediate threat.
2. If they were to take control of the gun (which I lawfully hold, and was lawful in the reason for it being out of the normal place of storage), I could be in immediate danger.

What is the PH view?

Breadvan72

19,730 posts

49 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th October 2012 quote quote all
You would probably be OK to shoot, if in fear, as the most recent case shows. Tony Martin shot the scrotes as they ran away. That is why he was potted.
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