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.
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 judgement would be grossly disproportionate.”
A householder who confronts and kills an intruder may be liable to a charge of murder or manslaughter. If the intruder is only injured, the householder could face charges such as assault, wounding or even attempted murder. However, the householder has a complete defence (and will therefore be acquitted) if the force he used was reasonable and was exercised either in self defence, defence of another, defence of his property, or in the prevention of crime.
Someone who is confronted by a burglar and has reason to fear for their safety, or the safety of their family, and in the heat of the moment uses force that is reasonable in the circumstances but in the cold light of day seems disproportionate they will not be guilty of an offence.
A judge has told two burglars permanently injured when they were shot by a homeowner: "That is the chance you take."
Judge Michael Pert QC jailed Joshua O'Gorman and Daniel Mansell for four years each after rejecting a plea that he take the shooting into account.
O'Gorman and Mansell, who have a string of convictions between them, were blasted with a legally-owned shotgun by Andy Ferrie as they attempted to ransack his isolated farm cottage in the early hours of September 2.
O'Gorman, who was shot in the face, and Mansell, who was hit in his right hand, had pleaded guilty to the break-in in Welby, near Melton Mowbray, at an earlier hearing.
When you're at home you want to feel safe, and in my view you're entitled to feel safe and secure. This is your haven, this is your refuge, this is where you have the right to be safe.
The burglar takes your property, but even if you're not at home when he takes very little property there is a sense of violation and it destroys peace of mind - and if your peace of mind in your home is destroyed you have lost something immensely precious.
– Lord Chief Justice
A predecessor of mine 400 years ago who said, 'Your home is your castle'.
That's what he is reflecting on.
This is the place where you pull up the drawbridge and the moat makes you safe. Your home is your safe place, so burglary is always serious.