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Law on self-defence

So the law on self-defence is going to be clarified (again), says the BBC. "Have a go" Jack Straw reckons that citizens need to know that the law is on their side, and that they can use "reasonable force". Nick Clegg for the Lib Dems says everyone knows that "proportionate, reasonable force" can be used.

I wonder if either of these two gentlemen would care to let us all know what force it would be "proportionate" and "reasonable" for a pensioner to use when confronted with a drug-crazed twenty-something in the dark in the middle of the night?

Also could they let us know if such pensioners can keep weapons by their beds for purposes of self-defence?

And must these aged homeowners ascertain the identity and/or intentions of the intruder before acting, or can they strike first and ask questions later?  

Or must we consider the aged as dispensable? 


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Reader Comments (4)

Actually it doesn't matter what a politician thinks is reasonable. If 3 out of 12 on a jury think they would have done the same, there will be no conviction.

But it is worth asking why charges sometimes seem to be pressed when there is no realistic prospect of a conviction. Are the police trying to discourage risky vigilante behaviour?
Sep 28, 2007 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Otten

People don't understand what the law is, and the Home Office has tried to clarify - hence the guidance issued two or three years ago, and this latest move as well. The politicians are therefore giving their opinion of what the law is (and in Jack Straw's case this is presumably based on HO legal opinion). That's fine and dandy, but the answers to the questions I've raised would make things much clearer. As I understand it, keeping an axe by your bed would be seen as laying in wait. So you are forced to lie and say it just happened to be there. Is this right? I don't know.

You're right about pressing of charges, and the way homeowners are treated by the police in these situations is right though.
Sep 28, 2007 at 5:29 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
I think you're not supposed to hit them if they're running away. The obvious solution to this is once on the back of the head with the baseball bat, then turn them over to lay into the face ... then again there still might be problems. Best just finish the job then press a kitchen knife into his hand. "He went for me with a knife officer, I panicked." Oh, further advice: keep a large hammer by your bed - the hammer you were using to put up that picture in your bedroom and forgot to put away.
Sep 29, 2007 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeal Asher

I'm not interested in killing the intruder per se. It's more a case of what can I do to make sure that my family and I remain alive at the end of his visit.
Sep 29, 2007 at 7:15 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

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