Monday, February 15, 2010

The Grand Game!

It's been a while. But the Grand Game is back! It turns out that the folks who run England's criminal justice system would prefer to prosecute homeowners who try to defend themselves. It makes some sense, I have to admit. Homeowners can't run, and the state can hold them hostage because the state controls title and transfer of title.


David Cameron has stoked the row over the prosecution of ‘have a go heroes’ by saying that burglars leave their human rights at the door when they break into a property.... The moment a burglar steps over your threshold and invades your property with all the threat that gives to you, your family and your livelihood, I think they leave their human rights outside,” he said.

Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, has criticised the... proposal, saying that the current law for householders accused of attacking intruders: “works very well”.

Last month, Munir Hussain, a businessman, was freed from prison on appeal after being jailed for using a cricket bat to batter an intruder who had broken into his home and tied his family up, leaving the burglar with brain damage.

Mr Cameron has also spoken up in defence of Mylene Klass, the television presenter and musician, who was told off by police for waving a knife at intruders who broke into her garden, describing the warning as “ridiculous”.

Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, dismissed Mr Cameron’s suggestion that burglars should forfeit their human rights as a “wonderful sound bite”.

He told the BBC’s Politics Show: “What sort of country is he trying to create?

"Of course it will receive short-term public applause from those who want to get tough on burglars, as we do in our Government, but where's the practical common sense policy thinking?"

Here's my practical common sense policy thinking: If you break into my house, and then threaten and tie up my family, then I am not obliged to be careful in how I react. If I have a bat, or a 2-iron, and I do NOT hit you in the head, as hard as I can, I may get tied up, too. We aren't talking about some guy who got lost. THE INTRUDER TIED THEM UP. Time for Mr. Cricket Bat. Sure, I can't enslave the intruder, or capture him and torture him. But I am not trained to calibrate how hard I hit with the bat.

Anyway, KPC readers, please pick out the most asinine elements of the story, the beyond stupid quotes, and let us know, in comments!


(UPDATE: My bad. Nod to my man Craig Newmark.....Furthermore, a commenter on N's Door clarifies that the cricket bat beating took place outside. An interesting question, I guess. Clearly I can beat the guy if he is threatening me. If he runs, maybe not. And once he is outside.... I see the point. Always useful to have a few facts, what?)


Unknown said...

The British are known for their manners. No need for violence, all one need say is:
"excuse me dear sir, would you kindly leave my home. me and my family are in the middle of dinner and your burglary is disturbing us. Quite rude."
Burglar (cockney accent of course):"Aye, sorry mate, don't mind me jus goin bout me business heyar. I'll be on me way soon enough."

Anonymous said...

If the burglar ties up your family, I think that makes him a terrorist. Waterboarding would be the appropriate uh defense.

Tim Worstall said...

"Burglar (cockney accent of course):"Aye, sorry mate, don't mind me jus goin bout me business heyar. I'll be on me way soon enough.""

Eeek! That's even worse Cockney than Dick Van Dyke!

As to the cricket bat, yes, the charge was that he pursued the burglar outside, chased him down the street than then whupped him. That's assault, not righteous self-defence.

The Myleene Klass thing ....she was in her own home, that was righteous self defence.

The actual legal bit is that you have the right to, roughly, appropriate levels of violence to defend yourself. Someone is burgling without threatening violence, as an example, you don't have to right to shoot them dead. (This happened to a farmer called Tony Martin. Shot a housebreaker in the back, served time for manslaughter.)

Someone comes at you with a knife you've got every right to fight back with whatever is to hand. But once they're down and disarmed you cannot then beat the crap out of them: only restrain them until hte police arrive.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a favorite assinine comment. But for me this is a very important observation by Cameron:
“The reason for changing the law is people I think do find it rather unclear what the current framework of reasonable force actually means."

I'm personally not gonna put on my philosophers cap, rub my chin, and say Okay the chap is violating me in this manner, and the appropriate response is...carry the 2...divide by 7.3...aha I can hit him with a closed fist.

We often get upset when the police kill an agressor, but I bet dollars to donuts that police training doesn't have things like: Be Gary Cooper, and shoot the gun hand. Try to wing him first. Shite like that. I bet police training says "Fire into the torso until the threat is mitigated and then investigate." If that is what police get to do, then shouldn't I - as an untrained homeowner - get to "pummel and beat until my arms are tired"? "Shoot until the clip is empty"?