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Tories and The Castle Doctrine

Tories go back to basics on right to defend home | Politics | The Guardian

Householders who resort to physical force to deter burglars will be given greater protection from the law, the justice secretary, Chris Grayling, will announce on Tuesday as he abandons the legacy of his moderate predecessor, Kenneth Clarke.
In a sign of Downing Street's tougher approach on law and order, Grayling will pledge to change the law to ensure householders can use "disproportionate" force in certain circumstances.

Conservative Party conference 2012: new right to attack burglars - Telegraph

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.”

Not just good dog whistle politics but also sensible. With the adrenalin flowing disproportionate may seem reasonable.

Of course what some of us think of as reasonable in the cold light of day might seem disproportionate to Guardian readers and Ken Clarke.

Comments

"Not just good dog whistle politics but also sensible. With the adrenalin flowing disproportionate may seem reasonable."

Which the law and juries already takes into account don't they? The heat of the moment. You can't know what the intruder intends, and if it's dark you can't be sure if they are armed or not. They are in your home and you want them out by any means at your disposal. To someone in the thick of it it isn't disproportionate.

It'd be more agreeable to me if Grayling had said that violence in the heat of the moment to defend yourself and your property against a burglar or robber *was proportionate* rather than say it is disproportionate but okay and then wibble on about things in the round and in the cold light of day. It isn't grossly disproportionate to stick someone with a knife while they are unconscious, it's just disproportionate.

And jolly rude.

Gareth is right. This is just spin. The government likes to talk up these things, but you'll still see cases of people being jailed for giving a burglar a well-deserved kicking (because rather than just holding him, they made sure that the scumbag got the message about f**king with other people).

This all rather makes it preferable that the burgling scum don't survive so that the householder's version of events is the only version. Also best if the little woman locks herself in the loo so that she didn't see anything. While I disagree with the death penalty as an instrument of state punishment, I have no such reservations with respect to householders killing someone who invades their castle.

I personally distrust the "reasonable & proportionate" language.


Reason A. Canada has language like that in it's laws, and the courts have almost completely intrepreted that as the householder may A. Not respond with greater violence that was offered (like you can tell the intention of the person(s) who have broken into your house in the dark.) or can tell if they armed with a screw driver/gun/machete/ club. B. Have a duty to retreat as far as possible.

Both of which strike me as wholly & completely UNreasonable.

Reason B. These things are always interpreted in the light of day, in a warm courtroom. What's reasonable (like that is a governing thought process in a fight!) to a cold, sleep befuddled, adrenaline high, terrified & angry householder, protecting family inthe dark/half-light from an indeterminate threat, may seem like idiotic over-reaction in the morning. So is "REasonable" a useful concept?


My latest aquisition over at my blog is going to make reasonable a bit difficult.

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