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Opinion : Is the law too vague when it comes to defending yourself from burglars?

| April 9, 2018

The only thing worse than being burgled is to come face to face with an intruder who has broken into your home.

Indeed you may have heard about the case that was recently in the news where a pensioner was arrested after a confrontation with a burglar in their home ended with the intruder being stabbed and subsequently dying.

The pensioner was later told they won’t face any charges following the incident however the trauma of being burgled is bad enough without having a possible murder charge looming around for a few days afterwards.

Sadly in these modern times burglaries are common place and many people are unlucky enough to be at home when the burglars strike.

My good self once knew of a friend who woke up one night to discover three young male burglars walking around in the upstairs of their house looking for things to steal. However in his younger days my friend happened to be a special services soldier. Needless to say when the police arrived three ambulances were parked outside my friends house with the burglars being taken out, unconscious, on stretchers.

My friend was never charged following the incident but he most definitely took on the burglars and ended up the victor in a very big way.

It seems that one can defend themselves using ‘reasonable force‘ if confronted with a burglar however surely it’s about time the law was clarified and tilted in favour of the innocent residents of the property rather than the burglars who are there only to commit crime?

Here is my proposal for some simple tests that could be applied to determine if you can use force against someone in you home :

  1. Does the other person have a valid reason to be in your home?
  2. Has the other person got the permission of any residents of the property to be there?
  3. Did the other person enter through a door or other valid entry point, with the door being opened with the key or opened by a resident of the property without trickery or deception being used?
  4. Is the other person known to any of the residents of the property?
  5. Does the other person leave when asked to do so?
  6. Is the other person not carrying a weapon, not wearing gloves and does not have their face concealed?

If the answer to any, or all, of the above questions is ‘No’ then in my opinion one should be able to use whatever force is necessary against the intruder. This should also go for people entering your land, such as the garden, as well as inside the house.

If the intruder has a criminal record then the residents should never face any charges no matter what happens.

As far as yours truly can see the law currently does not take into account the circumstances surrounding the presence of the intruder in the property. Surely this is very wrong?

If someone ought not be in a house or its grounds then the law should be clearly backing those who do have the right to be there rather than those who have ‘broken in’.

What do you think?

My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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