View Full Version : Judge IN touch with public opinion?

27th Oct 2004, 20:53
Police chiefs have urged householders not to confront intruders, but to call 999 and lock themselves in safely until help arrives.

Their advice was issued last night after a judge defended the actions of a retired man who shot an intruder who had returned for the third time to break into his isolated country home.

The judge's comments were hailed by victims' groups as the first sign of "common sense" on the rights of householders to defend their property.

The debate surrounding the definition of what constitutes the use of "reasonable force" against intruders was revived by Judge Andrew Hamilton's comments on Monday during the trial of John Rae, a burglar.

Rae, 22, who was jailed for seven years for a string of burglaries and other crimes, was shot in the leg by Kenneth Faulkner, 73, at his home in Ockbrook, Derbyshire.

Mr Faulkner was only told shortly before the trial that he would not be prosecuted over the shooting.

The judge said that he had "sensibly" armed himself with a shotgun and no one could criticise him for what he did.
"It is only a pity that charges were considered against him," he added.

David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, said he was "open to suggestions" about any changes in the law. However, he did not consider that recent incidents - which include the alleged murder in London of a 45-year-old teacher by a burglar - justified any.

The Association of Chief Police Officers said in a statement: "You can use force, but it has to be reasonable. We don't believe in vigilantism or excess violence."

Senior officers readily concede that the public is sceptical about the speed of police responses and accept that their advice is of little comfort to residents - especially those in the countryside - who hear disturbing noises in their homes during the night.

Mr Johnston said the legal situation in Britain was different from that in America. "If someone dared to enter someone's property in the States they would be within their constitutional rights to protect their property. And I dare say people in this country would say, 'What happened to an Englishman's castle?'

Judge stirs debate on right to self-defence (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1336592,00.html)

I wonder how Tony Martin, the farmer jailed for 5 years - and refused parole - for shooting a burglar in his remote farnhouse, reacted when he read the judge's comments.

27th Oct 2004, 22:09
Not before time. Good on him & the beak n'all. One can hear the rustling of Guardians as one types:suspect:

27th Oct 2004, 22:19
Reasonable force my arse !

High time we were allowed to defend ourselves by any means necessary.

Solid Rust Twotter
27th Oct 2004, 22:24
Which begs the question: "What is reasonable force?"

Anyone who can define that while battling an intruder in the dark without knowing whether they're armed or how many there are is a genius.

27th Oct 2004, 22:36
I think another condition in the Uk is that you don't kee psomething with the express purpose of whacking/shooting a burglar with it, so keeping a rolling pin to fight 'em off with is illegal etc.

tony draper
27th Oct 2004, 22:37
Chief Police Officers are nowt but politicians now, thats why I think its time they were elected and answerable to the local electorate.
Watch any Chief Constable being interviewed now, they spin, lie avoid questions, and prevaricate and spout the latest politically correct theories on crime from central government with the best of the westminster crowd.

27th Oct 2004, 22:50
We don't believe in vigilantism or excess violence

Ha! Being considered as a vigilante in your own home. As Solid Rust Twotter says, how do you know if they are armed or not. I guess it is sufficient for Special Response Teams (ok, I know they are trained for the situation) to be able to pull the trigger if they feel their or other's lives are in danger form a weapon, but in your own home it's a different story. What a crock. Of course, the excessive force that may have been used by the intruder doesn't count then.

Nigerian Expat Outlaw
27th Oct 2004, 22:55
True Story:

Man calls the police (in Staffordshire), "Good evening, there's someone in my shed, I have things in there that he could use to break into my house". Police call centre miles way answers, "I'm sorry Sir, we can't release the resources to deal with that at the moment". Man hangs up. Five minutes later he calls back and says "Sorry to bother you, I called just now to report an intruder in my garden shed". The operator says "Yes, we have your report on record". The man says "Well, you don't need to bother now, because I got my shotgun out and killed him". Five minutes later there was a helicopter overhead, armed response teams all over the place. They caught the ********** in the shed red handed. The inspector in charge said to the householder, "I thought you said you'd killed that man ?". The man answered, " I thought you said you didn't have the resources ?".

The defence rests.

28th Oct 2004, 02:01
Mein Gott! A judge with a modicum of common sense - well he's going to have to go isn't he? Between you me and the gate post if someone breaks into my house with felonious intent I will happily end his stay on this mortal coil with anything I have at hand, including my shotgun. A judge in Australia accepted a defence argument that a man broke into a house to use the phone haha and convicted the male houseowner of assault - judges are mostly loons.

28th Oct 2004, 07:51
In my opinion, if someone breaks into a home, they forfeit their 'rights' and leave them outside. I'm fed up hearing about 'reasonable force', how about the reasonable right of law abiding people to live without being robbed?
6 cell Maglights are handy by the way.

28th Oct 2004, 08:37
As shortly said, Blunkett will soon have this judge removed. He clearly doesn't have any respect for the burglar's human rights and in Blunkett's opinion, burgalar's rights are far more important than victims!

28th Oct 2004, 08:41
Tend to agree with most of what I've read here, however, if I may assume the role of Devil's advocate for a minute.

Let's assume we now have the right to defend our property with whatever means we choose to, a shotgun for example. Little Tommy accidentally kicks his football into his neighbour's garden. Tommy is a little Herbert and thinks he can just nip around the back as he can see the ball and the grumpy old bugger never answers the door anyway. Tommy creeps around the back and gets blasted by the neighbour with his Purdey because the neighbour suffers from depression and just couldn't get things into perspective that morning

That's not reasonable force is it? However, it would be perfectly legal.

28th Oct 2004, 08:51
I wonder how did it ever get to this stage that the criminal has more rights than the victim. We used to go out and leave the doors unlocked when I was a child, nothing was ever touched. Maybe we had nothing to pinch. Now we all have alarm systems. What a state of affairs, and more Judges with a brain would be ideal. The one mentioned deserves a medal.
As for little Tommy, he could be taught a bit of respect and patience, to wait to get his ball back. The little sods run riot over peoples property, no respect at all.

Grumpy old bugger.

28th Oct 2004, 09:19
Agree with most of whats been said but unfortunately agree that the judge probably is now living on borrowed time, we can't have judges agreeing with the good folk of JB - it just wouldnt work.

As for little Tommy, he should know better than to kick a ball into the grounds of Castle Draper:)

28th Oct 2004, 11:29
Since I saw this in the news, I've been trying to get someone to explain to me what is the difference between this case and Martin's. Obviously, one burglar died and the other didn't, but that's just down to the chance of the shot.

Can anyone here explain the difference between the two cases?
It wasn't the judge, really, was it? Because it was the CPS that dropped the prosecution.

28th Oct 2004, 11:34
Can anyone here explain the difference between the two cases?
Common sense prevailing?

Did the guy in the latest case aim to kill or aim to wound?

28th Oct 2004, 11:46
For those who did not see it, here is last Monday's Daily Telegraph report with a bit more detail:


tony draper
28th Oct 2004, 11:58
Just watched a bint from the Civil Liberties organisation whinning about ASPOs and criminalising yob children on the Politics Prog, I find myself in agreement with her, ,the little feckers should just be shot.
Seriously, is there any action be it by government, law enforcement or neigbourhood organisations take, to try and make life more civiled for the majority, that those unelected twats won't whine about, and why are they given air time?


My names Turkish
28th Oct 2004, 12:28
Well it's not just the Judges. The prosecution services are fouling things up before it even gets to the Judges.

"Farmer left fuming after diesel thieves escape prosecution"

A FARMER who caught two thieves stealing diesel from his barn is "boiling with anger" after being told that they will not be prosecuted.

The men were trapped by David Key in the act of pumping diesel from a tank on his farm. There were two independent witnesses and police arrested the suspects at the scene and took possession of the padlock that had been forced - but the Crown Prosecution Service in Britain has dropped the case because of "insufficient evidence".

Mr Key (63), said: "Hearing about cases like this makes you want to take the law into your own hands. I will take my gun out with me the next time I hear burglars on my property."

Mr Key who has suffered two previous thefts of agricultural diesel from his Norfolk farm already this year, used a tractor to block the thieves' escape route after discovering them just before 10pm on August 26.

"I caught them red-handed pumping diesel into their van," Mr Key said yesterday.

"How much more evidence do you need to prosecute someone? I am absolutely fuming. I would like to take a civil action if the police will release the names to me."

The CPS said in a statement that the decision not to prosecute had been made because "an essential legal element" was missing from the evidence. It did not say what the element was.

A police source said: "There were difficulties in bringing a prosecution because one man admitted the crime but claimed the other had put him up to it. The other man made no comment.

"The amount of property involved was not of great value. A decision had to be made on whether it was worthwhile bringing a prosecution bearing in mind the chances of getting a conviction," the source added. ( Daily Telegraph, London)

David Sapsted
in London

Source (http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=27&si=1275738&issue_id=11598)

28th Oct 2004, 12:37
Good to know that theft is not longer a crime if the value of the goods stolen are below a certain limit. Makes me feel a lot better about nicking that bar of chocolate back when I was a kid.

Is this limit dependant on the financial status of the thief or the victim? How will this be proved - P45, bank statements or independant audit? I can see an entire new bank of the Civil Service springing up to look after this, plus the apealls too. :*

28th Oct 2004, 12:42
Bet if I filled up my motor at the BP Garage and just drove off without paying I'd get 'done' for it.

28th Oct 2004, 14:00
Would the court ok the following:


Provided that the signs were also photoluminescent, in 3 languages and included a link to this website? (http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/m18-claymore.htm) :(

Edited to add: Signs to be placed at intervals of 6ft., equipped with proximity detectors which would automatically launch a verbal warning to the same effect for burglars with vision problems etc. I'd prefer some claymores. Even if they'd tear up the rose bushes...

28th Oct 2004, 14:33
As has been mentioned before, the police expect you to only use reasonable force.

How are you to judge this?

Not everyone has the physical ability or the 'guts' to get into a stand up fight with a burglar. How do you estimate the level of risk? If they don't run at he first sign of disturbance what do you do to protect your property?

The Police say lock yourself in and wait for help - How long will that take? Who cares if your property has real value or not ,it is valued by you and you have worked hard to get it and if it has sentimental value will be irreplaceable.So when the Police finally arrive the burglar has gone off with your car, TV , wallet, cards,keys and who knows what else. The least you have is an enormous amount of hassle and expense. Fear is the next problem.

The logical answer would be to use a gun - the great equaliser 'cos even if the burglar has a gun too, he or she knows that a bullet fired by an 80 year old is as lethal as any other.

Allowing guns for home defense would be a complete minefield but in my opinon will be legal in 10years

28th Oct 2004, 15:28
Reference little Tommy and his ball. Little Tommy should have been more careful not to kick his ball over the fence. Oh, and Tommy should contact the English football team....at least the ball landed in the neighbour's yard.

28th Oct 2004, 15:35
Tony martin used an illegal weapon, one which was not entered on his certificate, I am led to believe.

28th Oct 2004, 15:42
We're talking about the UK. So there are a few points to consider:

1) I imagine that most UK burglars go about their activities unarmed, relying on stealth.
2) Most UK households don't possess firearms.
3) Even the police intervening after a call are probably unarmed.

In many other countries including France, consider that:

1) Many more households possess firearms.
2) Police intervening will be armed.
3) Ordinary burglary becomes a lot more complicated...

Perhaps that would explain a higher prevalence of burglars who are both armed and willing to use violence or at least the threat of it in their activities in these latter countries?

So how to sort out the "good" burglars from the "bad"?

1) Install a good alarm system (wherever you are).
2) A "good" burglar will undoubtedly flee immediately when detected.
3) A good "good" burglar will go about his business leaving you to discover your loss when you come down for breakfast in the morning, so you can make the call to your insurers.
4) A good "bad" burglar will wake you up with a gun to your temple uttering that his colleague has your children tied up in another room, if one is lucky.
5) A really bad but good "bad" burglar will probably have raped the wife before waking you up to tell you about it and slitting your throat. But then burglary probably wasn't his "thing" in the first place.

That is why I would recommend Claymores, together with the accompanying signs, motion detectors and audible warnings etc. In fact, have a company (lots of insurance coverage recommended) install a system that will operate completely automatically. Until they develop silently-operating Claymores, you will still be awoken. But at least you may not be solely liable before a judge. What if you don't want to risk shredding the cat? No Claymores then. Just a thought...keep a spare loaded handgun at hand, obviously "stolen". After the deed, remember that you have it and where it should go...?!

And what about all the "good" burglars you might ask? Well, if I was an employer, I'd be more inclined to ignore a non-contiguous employment history. As an interim gesture however, I'd recommend always having a few spare coins for when someone asks "can you spare a penny?" at the traffic lights...that would be entirely reasonable in my book! ;)

28th Oct 2004, 16:01
3) Even the police intervening after a call are probably unarmed.
This assumes they actually turn up and have not got more important things to do, such as visiting McDonalds.

28th Oct 2004, 16:15
Since when did gluttony become a crime...?! ;)

tony draper
28th Oct 2004, 16:37
How does the law stand on this in France Mr airship? is one allowed to scrag intruders in your land,?
No good asking Grandpa this, he would shoot Americans for walking to slow.


28th Oct 2004, 16:43
In the case of the farmer who had his diesel stolen could he not bring a civil case against the individuals concerned and claim for damages, you know loss of income, stress etc?

28th Oct 2004, 16:52
In my experience, most people I know of have some type of firearm lurking around their maison. Even if it's only something leftover from WWII. You know, a Bren or a Sten thingie. Handguns are a definite non-non unless you're willing to undergo very serious non-formalities. But "long" barrelled weapons are not a problem. Unfortunetly, even here in France the subject of reasonable force has come up recently. Usually it is with regard to actions by the Police in the line of duty. Then again, here in France, they give any municipal policeman an automatic pistol after the required 2 weeks total training period. But it has become very much more difficult to pass off shooting burglars as hunting accidents nevertheless...:sad:

Lance Murdoch
28th Oct 2004, 17:06
Simple fact of the matter is that burglars should not be in your house. The legal term of 'reasonable force' is perfectly adequate if it is used with a certain amount of common sense by the judge. Clearly shooting a child who has climbed over your fence to retrieve his football is excessive.
Having been in the situation of confronting three 'bad' burglars I can say that the last thing you think of is any kind of future legal argument. Quite often you will not know if he is armed or not so you will not really know if you have used reasonable force until after the event.
Every burglar enters your house at his own risk, to say otherwise is ridiculous as I have yet to hear of anyone actually wanting to be burgled. Being thumped, clubbed, stabbed or shot is an occupational hazard and as such a burglar should never be able to sue a householder for damages incurred whilst engaging in this activity. even if it is judged that a householder used excessive force.
In summary, the existing law is adequate but me and many others feel that it is not being implemented with any common sense (except for the case which started this thread).

28th Oct 2004, 17:13
Golly, airship, I am pro-gun, but I'd never be so casual as:
a Bren or a Sten thingie

The Bren is a lovely piece of work, and I used to take pleasure in the ability to fire single shots, but it's not a "thingie". It is a very dangerous weapon. As for the Sten, it is the scariest thing ever, especially for the person holding it and any of his pals on either side. All else apart, that cocking handle shooting to and fro could take your hand off. Are there ANY of either just lying around in attics?

28th Oct 2004, 17:37
Personally, one doesn't have an attic. Also, one lives on the 1st floor of an old building without street access to the rear of said abode. Neither do the neighbours. Stray cats don't appear to have a problem though...?!

So just supposing that one had access to such thingies, they may as well be buried in a back garden somewhere. Just in case the jerries try it on again.

But the major problem may be assuring a reliable source of munitions. If only they used 7.62mm.... ;)

tony draper
28th Oct 2004, 17:56
They used to manufacture those Brens at a factory close to Drapes at one time Mr Davaar,the Place logically enough was called the Bren Gun Factory, when we was sprogs my gang used to go to their scrap heap and collect bits,we never quite got all the parts so never sucessfully managed to make a complete one.
I think anybody breaking and entering a property should be concidered a outlaw, in the old sense of the word, outside the protection of the law, that is after all what outlaw meant, one could scrag a outlaw by any hideous means that came to mind Burning hanging torture to death ect with no comeback whatsoeverl.
Of course this is a not the medieval period but I still think we should be allowed to shoot em, even if its just shooting them a little bit.

28th Oct 2004, 18:17
In principle, Dr draper, and unlike many of my learned friends, I do not have too much trouble with self-help, and after all the law too shared those views until recently. In none of the learned or unlearned debates here do I ever find the word "hamesucken", known formerly to Scots law and even more formerly to Anglo-Saxon law. It was the offence of seeking out a man in his house and assaulting him there. It was a capital offence. It is now treated, I see, as an aggravated assault. The offence could not be committed in places of temporary residence or of business.

In the old Trial by Libel the modus of the libella was: "you did go to the dwelling house of A.B, for the purpose of assaulting him there, and did, within said dwelling house, assault said A.B."

It was a capital offence until the enactment of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1887; thereafter, probably, penal servitude.

Still, my own defensive weapon of choice would not be a Sten gun, and a Bren is not really handy for counter-hamesucken tactics.

tony draper
28th Oct 2004, 19:07
As I understand it Mr Davaar, the Sten was a very shoddy piece of work stamped out of bean cans,prone to jam and chop off fingers, mainly to use up mountains of captured German 9mm Parabelum rounds, I mean 9 mm is not a caliber a Englishman would come up with, .38 yes 9 mm no!.
Mind you said sten wasn't a patch of the German Smitse... er smizer er smoocher, err the German machine pistol, splendid build quality that had, one actually fired one in ones cellar many moons ago, fortunatly we only had three rounds of the afore mentioned 9 mm parabellum so twas a very short burst.

28th Oct 2004, 19:37
Hi Drapes,

Think you mean the MP39 or MP40, both known as the Schmeisser, after the German firearms designer Hugo Schmeisser.

Trouble is, neither weapon was actually designed by him....... :confused: