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Your home is your castle

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by cleanbluesky, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. Dolph

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 47,452

    Location: Plymouth

    Yes, because it's not a reasonable self-defence response.

    I'm all for reasonable self defence, as I've said earlier in the thread, the law as it stands works very well. (I'm still waiting for a case apart from Tony Martin, which has already been shot down in flames as being anything to do with defence, to be brought up where people have not had justice served) .

    Don't confuse beating seven bells out of a burglar with self-defence, as they are not the same thing at all. Most self defence classes for women (or indeed men) predominately cover how to avoid dangerous situations, and how to neutralise threats to escape, which is rather different from what you seem to think they are.

    I'm a fairly strong martial artist myself, so I know the limits of what I can and can't do in the name of self defence. I also don't advocate kicking seven bells out of someone when they don't pose a threat.

    -Dolph
     
  2. Sleepy

    PermaBanned

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

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    Location: Leicestershire

    I have not misrepresented your position. You state it above " to pre-emptively put a ... weapon in place before any threat is made upon your safety is not legitimate." Yet you have yet to offer any justification for such a stance. WHY NOT!
    Please explain to me what is the difference is between turning yourself into a weapon and placing an object next to your bed for possible use to defend yourself. I fail to see any significant difference myself. Both require premeditation which is the crux of the issue here.
    Yeah lets give as much of an advantage to the criminal attacker as possible.
    And I maintain that you position is neither fair, equitable or logical. It gives the attacker an even greater advantage.
    Sorry but why bring retribution into the mix. Nobodies advocating beating up criminals after they've beeen subdued and/or captured.
    Lets just hope your attacker is smaller than you, else you are up a certain creek bleeding to death. Not me though, better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6
    How is self defence not within the rule of law. You've allready agreed its legitimate given certain provisos, all I'm advocating is extending the permissible limits allowed by law.
    This is wrong. You might wish it were so, but legally the state via its police force has no legal or moral obligation to protect you. Quite the opposite, they can legally watch you die and prevent anybody ie paramedics friends etc from interfering. This has actually happened, it occurred in Hungerford and more recently (2004) in Oxford with the killing of two sisters. If the police wont step up to protect you then obviously it falls upon the individual. Not something you seem to appreciate.
    No its not, a booby trap is a passive device that can injure anyone, even those with a legitimate excuse to enter such as firefighters, police etc. A weapon is aimed by a user at a target it is not indiscriminate in those it effects.
     
  3. Sleepy

    PermaBanned

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    Posts: 7,394

    Location: Leicestershire

    Please tell me why you think so.
    Wasn't aware that you were wanting examples of current law failures Link
    You've totally misrepresented my position. You are the only person whos mentioned "beating seven bells out of a burglar" and we are not talking about avoidance but what to do when you cannot escape and self defence is either an option or it's the only option.
     
  4. Indy11

    Gangster

    Joined: Dec 6, 2004

    Posts: 270

    Location: New York, NY

    Sword vs. gun. Ordinarily, you would think that gun trumps sword.
     
  5. Dolph

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 47,452

    Location: Plymouth

    Because you aren't reacting to a situation, you are escalating it, and indeed are showing intent to escalate it, by having a weapon deliberately placed to hand.

    Self defence is just that, you react and neutralise a situation to protect yourself. You shouldn't use a weapon unless you need to, and in a vast, vast majority of situations, a weapon is an unnecessary and inappropriate response. There are very, very few self defence situations where a weapon is necessary or desireable, especially in your own home, and as such deliberate placement of a weapon suggests that you were less concerned about self defence than retribution.

    There are also strong arguments to be made about how weapons, especially in unskilled hands, are as much of a liability to the wielder as to the victim and that they make it far more likely for the householder to actually get hurt unnecessarily, but they aren't entirely necessary.

    Fair enough, not seen that one. Most of the news reports on it seem a bit short it has to be said BBC Link, but that certainly does seem a fairly good example though, although I'm guessing (as no report states it) that the reason he got done was that the BBC report says he "went and fetched the sword" which would generally be a no-no. If you grab something at hand, that's normally self defence. If you go and get something that's not. As I said, both reports are rather short though.

    Apologies if you feel that's the case, it wasn't meant to be. I guess it comes from the fact that I was always taught to only draw a weapon if you were intending to use it, hence drawing a weapon in self defence is, to me, a very rare thing indeed. Someone would have to be very, very aggressive with me or make me genuinely fear for my life before I would do it.
     
  6. Dolph

    Man of Honour

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    Not in close combat, I know which I'd prefer to face.

    A gun has a longer lethal range, but it's much more condensed, into a very small area directly in front of the barrel. If you can avoid that, you're fine.

    A sword, in experience hands, can weave a much more dangerous attack pattern, although with much less range.

    Sword vs gun, up close, sword would win nearly every time all other things being equal.
     
  7. Eliot

    Soldato

    Joined: Mar 29, 2005

    Posts: 5,742

    Ok heres a scernario. A burgular is in my house and while he is grabing something, i clock him one with a baseball bat. hes unconcious, is that against the law?
     
  8. Dolph

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

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    If you saw him, went and got the bat and hit him with it, then most likely, yes.

    He posed no direct threat to you, you gave him no warning, it was not an action of self-defence.

    If you woke up and he was looming over your bed and you clock him one, then you'd probably get away with it.
     
  9. Eliot

    Soldato

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    ok then i have my bb gun, he moves towards me i shoot him in the eye, thats nice and legal no?
     
  10. Dolph

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 47,452

    Location: Plymouth

    Even less likely to be found to be self defence to be honest, because the question would come up of why you had a BB gun in the first place at that specific time and why it was loaded....

    So far you've asked if blindsiding someone and battering them, or shooting them to blind them would be self defence, I would have hoped the answer would have been fairly self evident....
     
  11. agw_01

    Capodecina

    Joined: Apr 11, 2004

    Posts: 19,491

    I haven't read the whole thread, and don't post in this forum very often, but....

    If I came back to my car to find some scrote trying to break into it/in the process of removing my personal belongings, I'd have no regrets with smashing a baseball bat over his head or slamming the door, numerous times, against his face.

    He chose to steal from me, so why, for a second, should I spare his life.

    Regarding protecting your home, I'm with Tony Martin. IMO (and maybe a little harsh) yeah ok, so maybe the theif didn't deserve to die, but he entered someone else's property with the intent to steal. He didn't expect to get caught and thus was quite happy to enter the house and get his hands on whatever he could find... probably to sell on for his own personal gain.

    But the thing is, is he did get caught. And I'm pretty sure he learnt his lesson from it.
     
  12. Sequoia

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Aug 15, 2005

    Posts: 2,948

    In your opinion, not in mine. That is a value judgement, not a legal definition. So, you live by your value judgement and let the burglar take your property if you like, but don't expect me to do likewise. I live by my value judgements and I DON'T put a burglar's life above my property or anyone else's, for that matter. The burglar shows no regard for me or my rights by burgling me, and "none" is exactly how much regard he's going to get from me, while burgling. If he doesn't like that, don't burgle.

    I repeat what I said earlier .... you are allowed to use reasonable force to defend your life, that of other people .... or your property. So, I can warrant it, and I do do so. Please don't try to tell me what I can or can't warrant. I don't tell you what values to live your life by. Please extend me the same courtesy. By all means disapprove of my values if you like, but don't tell me what my values can or can't be.

    Despite your doubts, you're wrong, I'm afraid. The law absolutely does allow you to use reasonable force to defend property. The tricky bit, as I said, is in defining what "reasonable" means.

    You can use "reasonable force" to defend self, another person(s), property, to prevent crime or to effect a legal arrest. Any and all of those situations are valid. It is absolutely clear that force can be used in those situations, and that applies to each of them, including defending property. Whether any force used is reasonable or not will depend primarily on what the person using it (in those situations) genuinely believed the situation to be (even if he is mistaken in what he believed), and is subject to two main tests: was force necessary at all, and if it was, was it excessive?

    It might be difficult to imagine a situation where deadly force was necessary to defend property but where your life was not at risk at the same time, but it is certainly possible. Bear in mind that "defending property" would include defending it against attempts to damage or destroy, not just to steal.

    What does that have to do with what I said? In what way is that necessary to defend your property? Where on earth do you think I suggested that that would hold up?

    vonhelmet, the same criteria are used to assess to reasonableness of defending property as are used to assess the reasonableness of defending yourself - to whit, was it necessary, and was it excessive? Suppose you have a valuable painting hanging on your wall and some nutjob decides to destroy it, so they lunge at it with a knife or something. Neither you nor anybody else is close enough to prevent them destroying it by stopping them reaching it and, besides, it'd likely be physically very dangerous to try to do so. The ONLY way to stop them in time is to shoot them. Are you legally able to do it? Well, there's a moral argument to that that people will no doubt have opinions on, but if you want to prevent your painting being destoyed, you ARE allowed to use reasonable force to do so. How, short of a level of force like shooting, are you going to defend your painting? So, if you shoot, was it necessary (legally not morally), and was it excessive?

    How such a case would turn out if it went to court remains to be seen, but there is a very long-standing common law principle that reasonable force can be used to defend property. The only issue is whether there are circumstances where deadly force was necessary, and not excessive in the circumstances. And THAT would be for a jury to determine, if it ever got as far as court in the circumstances I just described.

    Oh, and that "valuable" painting wouldn't have to be a Renoir or something. It isn't about the monetary value. It might be a totally irreplaceable and personally valuable painting by my deceased grandmother. It isn't about money. It's about property and the right to defend it against others.

    If I am using reasonable force to defend my property, then I am not committing a crime, so they aren't a victim of it, are they now?

    This isn't about what you think the law is, or about what you'd like it to be, it's about what it actually is, whether you approve or not. Naturally, the situation is rather more complex than the rough outline I've given here, and there are a fair few 'except fors' and 'unlesses' but, essentially, the situation is as I've outlined.
     
  13. Dolph

    Man of Honour

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    The issue when it comes to property is that, in general, the amount of force considered reasonable is less and the line is a lot more smudged and unclear than with defending your person/your loved ones.

    You'll have a hard time convincing a jury that you had to kill someone to protect a piece of property (although it is possible, the example Sequoia gives above being a very good one).
     
  14. Sequoia

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Aug 15, 2005

    Posts: 2,948

    To be pedantic, the criteria isn't whether the burglar was a threat, it is whether Eliot genuinely believed he was a threat, even if it factually turned out he was wrong in that belief. And, what's more, you are NOT obliged to give warning, nor are you obliged to await an attack and only to hit in response. Pre-emptive strikes are legal, if circumstances make that "reasonable force". It's a very wide-ranging term, for two words, isn't it? :)

    Of course, the exact circumstances have a lot to do with all this, but the actual situation is rather more in favour of the householder than you may think. The same applies to the discussion about having a "weapon" by the bedside. The "premeditation" of having prepared for violence is only one factor that would be taken into account and certainly is not enough to make the use of that weapon illegal. Other factors, such as the way in which it was used and any injury caused would all factor into assessing whether the force used was "reasonable" or not. Putting a weapon aside 'just in case' is a factor, but not solely deterministic.

    Furthermore, whether such a weapon is "necessary" or not would also depend on the situation of the person possessing it. In the discussion about whether a weapon is necessary or not, no allowance seems to be made for the possibility that the person using the weapon may be wildly outclassed without it, because of age, gender or infirmity. What chance does an arthritic great-grandfather stand against a fit, healthy young burglar, without some form of weapon? Not much.

    I take your point about any weapon being taken away from its owner and used against him/her, but that has to be balanced against the situation where that weapon may be the only thing standing between that person and getting badly beaten or even killed. It's a balance of risks, and the person best equipped to assess that balance is the person taking the risk.
     
  15. Sequoia

    Wise Guy

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    I think that it's actually more the case that you'd have trouble convincing a jury that serious force was "necessary", that being a critical part of "reasonable". In most situations, protecting property isn't going to come to serious (let alone deadly) force, without you being put at risk of death or serious injury at the same time.

    If you challenge a burglar, most likely he's going to drop everything and run. At that point, though force is still legitimate, it probably isn't sensible or practical. You can, as I said above, use force to effect a legal arrest BUT, exactly when and how an arrest is legal is slippery, especially for the private citizen. If you're going to use force to arrest a burglar, you certainly put yourself at legal risk if you get it wrong. So does a police officer, incidentally. If a police officer tries to arrest someone when they don't have legal authority to do so, they not only risk getting sued and/or charged with assault if they used force to do it (and arrest is, by definition, forcible even if no physically contact occurs), but the person being illegally arrested is perfectly entitled to use force to defend himself/herself. But going a step furthrer, if you use physical force against a police officer that is attempting to arrest you because you feel the arrest is illegal, you'd damn well better be right about that! ;)

    Back onto my original point .... if a burglar doesn't drop everything and scarper, he may turn on you. At that point, force becomes necessary to defend yourself rather than just your property.

    So, the situation where force, let alone deadly force, is necessary to defend property alone may be rare and rather obscure, but ..... it exists. Which brings me back to where I started several posts ago - you can use force (including deadly force) to defend property.
     
  16. Sleepy

    PermaBanned

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    Using a weapon in a situation where you may have to defend your life is not escalation, its a sensible precaution that may make the difference between living or dieing, hell if you are lucky it may prevent any violence drom occuring, the threat being enough to protect you. Something the law allready recognises for impromtu weaponry. You seem to be arguing that whilst training is a permissable form of premeditiated escalation, positioning a possible weapon is somehow wrong. You assert that it may not be the best option, well that is debatable and requires a judgement of the attacker/defender/weapons available on both sides. Yet such a judgement is not made regarding impromptu use. In such a case only the actual use of force is judged. So why is it relevant to the deliberate placing of a weapon? Afterall the effect on the attacker is the same whether I grab a golf club from its bag or whether I grab it from under the bed.

    You yet again associate pre positioning weaponry with retribution whilst later apologising for associating my position with illegal and unjustifiable use of force. Maybe you should remember that not everyone is a martial artist of many years training. And that a weapon may make all the difference in a home invasion scenario.

    Another aspect is just who is the law trying to protect in this scenario? Its not the attacker who is basically fair game till they stop fighting whether by fleeing, surrendering or being incapacitated. If you feel it sensible to grab something to defend yourself the law is happy unless its something you prepostioned for the 1 in a million chance of someone invading your home. Then you're legally screwed. I'm sorry but you have not yet come up with a sensible reason for justifying this legal dichotomy. Preperation is not escalation, it's a reasonable precaution based on what does happen and the everyday fears of a lot of people.
    You are not everyone.
     
  17. Eliot

    Soldato

    Joined: Mar 29, 2005

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    IMO Club first, worry later :p