Returning castle status to an Englishman’s home

In a bizarre act of unexpected intelligence, the British government passed a law allowing Brits to defend themselves in their own homes (and on the streets) without fear of reprisal — not from the burglars within, but from the government forces without:

Home owners and “have-a go-heroes” have for the first time been given the legal right to defend themselves against burglars and muggers free from fear of prosecution.

In practice, householders are seldom prosecuted if they harm or even kill an intruder but the Act will give them greater legal protection

They will be able to use force against criminals who break into their homes or attack them in the street without worrying that “heat of the moment” misjudgements could see them brought before the courts.

Under new laws police and prosecutors will have to assess a person’s actions based on the person’s situation “as they saw it at the time” even if in hindsight it could be seen as unreasonable.

For example, homeowners would be able stab or shoot a burglar if confronted or tackle them and use force to detain them until police arrive. Muggers could be legally punched and beaten in the street or have their own weapons sued against them.

However, attacking a fleeing criminal with a weapon is not permitted nor is lying in wait to ambush them.

You can read more here.

You really have to wonder what the world is coming to when English government does something sensible.

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  • Deana

    I’m delighted to read this but I must comment on this one sentence:

    “Muggers could be legally punched and beaten in the street or have their own weapons sued against them.”

    Get that? The government believes it is their job to “allow” people to defend themselves. That’s amazing.

    So, if they didn’t “give permission,” you’d be legally required to just stand there and take it??

  • socratease

    My prediction is that the prosecutors and judges will act quickly to nullify this.

    I really don’t understand people who argue against a right of self-defense. If you can’t legally defend your existence when someone threatens it, then you have no right to exist as far as the state is concerned, and as soon as your existence becomes a hindrance to the state’s ends, you will be eliminated.

    In 2002, a UN Commission determined that there is no human right to self-defense.

  • Mrs. Happy Housewife

    Oh, dear, are they feeling well? Must be a temporary lapse in judgement. Wait a minute, I see a legal loophole in “lying in wait to ambush”. I bet every lawyer will claim a soundly-sleeping homeowner was lying in wait.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Lest we get too enthusiastic about English sensibility, see:

  • Ymarsakar

    Home owners and “have-a go-heroes” have for the first time been given the legal right to defend themselves against burglars and muggers free from fear of prosecution.

    There was a reason why the FOunding Fathers sacrificed so much to fight for independence from Britain. You’re looking right at one of them.

  • Ymarsakar

    In practice, householders are seldom prosecuted if they harm or even kill an intruder but the Act will give them greater legal protection

    In practice, making examples of a few people will deter many more, if they are inclined to obey the law and fear it in the first place. This doesn’t work as well against criminals because criminals don’t fear breaking the law as much, obviously cause they keep breaking it.

    This is not such a special sociological condition that people can claim ignorance over.

  • Ymarsakar

    Until now people have had to prove in court that they acted in self defence but the changes mean police and the Crown Prosecution Service will decide on cases before this stage.

    Europe’s system of guilty until proven innocent really is wonderful, if you’re the one with that kind of power. Allows for lots of Leftist totalitarian abuses that normally would never see the light of day in the US.

    In Britain, the government doesn’t have to prove you murdered or killed someone with criminal intent. You need to prove that what you did was self-defense if you wish to be not jailed.

    Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, said that people would be protected legally if they defend themselves “instinctively”; they fear for their own safety or that of others; and the level of force used is not excessive or disproportionate.

    The fake liberals are still living in a world where they think they can equalize the force levels between the rapist and the woman.

    I suppose political ideology is far more important than allowing those weaker members of our society to successfully defend themselves with overwhelming firepower and violence.

    They think this is like a night at Las Vegas casinos, where if you “lose” cause you didn’t make the right “level of bet” proportionate to the odds or your money, that all you will lose is money in the end. They think excessive use of violence is like excessive use of money in gambling, something to be avoided for it will only harm people. I’m not sure what world they were living in but gambling was designed to take people’s money and give it to the house and violence is designed to take lives and give it unto Death.

    Mr Straw – and other Labour ministers – have previously repeatedly blocked attempts by opposition MPs to give greater protection to householders.

    Well, obviously the Labour MPs don’t have to worry about such things because they have armed guards and the excessive force of the government behind them if they are troubled by the serfs.

    To those with power, allowing those without power more abilities and freedoms is just a mite too convenient for the Brit Labour party too intent on oppressing the proletariat in return for Big Brother care.

    Two Private Member’s Bills on the issue were tabled by the Tories around the time of the 2005 general election, but both were sunk by the Government.

    In 2004, a Tory Bill designed to give the public the right to forcibly tackle burglars was also rejected.

    Those who say that Tories and Labour are just different faces of the same coin, may have a point. However, there’s a big difference when gambling for life whether the coin flips heads or tails.

    And those who would vote or allow Labour power solely because they refuse to support the Tories cause the Tories aren’t in a position of power, are simply allies of Labour’s machinations against justice and liberty.

    Even different faces of the same coin can change the fates of people whose lives depend on which side the coin flips. Just because your personal life won’t change, is no excuse to sacrifice the many more that would have been saved by Tory alternative bills.

    He is understood to have decided new laws were necessary after he was involved in four “have-a go’’ incidents, which included chasing and restraining muggers near his south London home.

    When the effete rich and powerful are brought down a notch and made to suffer the ills they have allowed to be inflicted upon the weak, the infirm, and the innocent, now they change their minds. Wonder that.

    Human nature is oh so predictable, and thus entirely open to manipulation.

    “The Government strongly supports the right of law abiding people to defend themselves, their families and their property with reasonable force.

    Funny how the “Government” thinks it is able to discern what force is “reasonable”. The Government of Britain only exists because it has exercised extremely unreasonable and disproportional force on its citizens and enemies. And now the self same “Government” is saying you, its cogs, serfs, servants, and olafs must use reasonable force, as judged by the Gov.

    I’m certain to the government, the sacrifice of a few women, men, and children are “reasonable” to them. It may not be reasonable to you, however, if you are the one being attacked.

    It came as it emerged that homeowners could have to wait up to three days after reporting a crime to see a police officer, according to a leaked draft of the Policing Green Paper.

    The ban on handguns and shotguns are working great for Britain’s police efficiency and anti-burglar and violent assault episodes. So sayeth the American Left, at least.

    I almost might be led to believe that such peeps are receiving a cut of the profits from Britain’s burglars, given how so many of their policies are designed to help the self same individuals.

    The paper says that this will be “within three hours it if requires policing intervention or three days if there is less immediate need for a police presence.”

    The police exist to clean up crime scenes of dead bodies and what not after the fact. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that they have the power to do anything more. Unless you get Big Brother’s secret police and then I will guarantee you that the methods of the secret police, methods I could easily describe to you, would eliminate crime almost entirely. The methods I know of may not be pretty, but they are certainly effective none the lest. But only in the short term.

    One commenter at the link got it right.

    4. Posted by Mike on July 16, 2008 03:16 PM

    “New” laws? For centuries English common law has allowed reasonable force in self -defence of life, family and property, hence the centuries- old saying “An Englishman’s house is his castle”. The kind of force now being “allowed” existed in the past of living memory. In recent years courts and parliament have reinterpreted or legislated the common law out of existence in this area, hence the absurd cases of householders facing prosecution. Being permitted to defend oneself, as opposed to having an inherent natural right to do so (deriving ultimately from natural law arguments), is a worrying way to go. Rights that have been awarded can be taken away again.

    The people who demanded the Bill of Rights were quite prescient. They must have suspected that future generations would attempt to corrupt the just and the good for their own cowardly and self serving goals.

    What is the fundamental underlying factor in a building’s strength and structural stability? It’s walls that could bend in earthquakes and high winds? It’s floors made to withstand vertical shearing? No. A building’s fundamental strength is in its foundations.

    And one of the reason America is still strong is because her foundation was solid and sound. Unlike Britain’s.

  • suek

    Be not so quick to throw stones….we have a few glass windows ourselves.

    Jury nullification can be a good thing.

  • Ymarsakar


    Lest we get too enthusiastic about English sensibility, see:

    If you read all of BOok’s link, including its comments, you will see why Book is not herself too enthusiastic about this. It’s a step in the right direction, but probably only because Labour wants to save itself. They do not particularly care who has to die in the process, so long as it is not them.

    A sad state for human affairs, but natural.

  • Ymarsakar

    Police also charged Beatrice with assault for hitting Rodriguez, saying “they sympathized with him but would have preferred he had waited for police to arrive.”

    That’s not an AMerican problem, Suek. That’s a problem with police, all police.

    All police prefer, one way or another, to come in to clean up the crime scene after the fact and they would really rather you not inconvenience them by muddying the waters through taking actions by yourself. Disrupting the crime scene, interfering or attacking with witnesses, these are big no nos to the police bureaucracy.

    Some cops want to prevent crime, but that’s kind of hard to do, ya know, given the legal protections on search and seizure and what not.

    The police once told someone I knew, who had his bicycle stolen twice from his apartment in Chicago, to “just let the thieves take it” cause it would be too troublesome (to the police presumably) for the victim to fight against the burglars if the burglars ever showed up while the victim was there.

    It’s just too much paperwork, presumably, to deal with such things. They prefer a straight line investigation, shut and close case, with the criminal behind bars. That’s not exactly what citizens might prefer, though. Citizens would rather not arrest criminals at all. Citizens simply want to prevent crime and produce security. Real security, not the “clean up the bodies after the fact” security.

  • suek

    I’m not sure which thread this should go on – this one or the Atkins on! It’s relevant to both.

    >>That’s not an AMerican problem, Suek. That’s a problem with police, all police.>>

    Agreed. But that’s the British problem as well…citizens should stand aside and do nothing. Let the police handle it. Same approach to terrorism – don’t send an army, the legal system will deal with it. The problem is obvious…aside for the practical problems you mention which mean that the problem isn’t addressed at all, but the idea that first a crime has to occur or the police can’t do anything. Most people would prefer to _prevent_ a crime. Secondly, the “just let the thieves take it” attitude that the police have. Sure it’s easy for them – no loss to their pockets. But especially for the little guy who can’t afford the loss, what is their protection? Will the police pay them for the lost bicycle – or whatever? Of course not. And of course, we also know that the police have no obligation to provide for the personal protection of any citizen. Just as you say – only for the clean up and prosecution – if it’s worthwhile for the city/county to prosecute.

    To say nothing of the state of mind desired for the citizen – that they should do nothing towards their own protection. Citizen Sheep is just exactly what a totalitarian government wants. “Just go back to grazing, Sheeple…the law is here. Of course the wolf has taken one or two, but he has to eat too. Don’t worry…we won’t let them take too many…after all, we have to harvest the flock ourselves!”

  • Danny Lemieux

    Thanks for the link, SueK – if provides more confirmation that the Archbishop of Canterbury is not a religious leader, but a Labor Party-appointed bureaucrat and moron.

  • Wolf Howling

    You have to love how the law came about – the Home Office Secretary involved in chasing down criminals personally. One, my hat is off to him for his personal bravery. Two, the fact that his acts led to his support for a change in the law suppports a critical hypothesis that I formed long ago, that the elitist left has only a tenuous hold on reality and that their utopian attitudes change only through the rare personal exposure to reality. Now if Britain would only send the Lord Chief Justice and the Archbishop of Canterbury over to live in Saudi Arabia for a few months and get a chance to gain a greater understanding of Sharia law . . .

  • Ymarsakar

    Just is giving people what they deserve and Leftists deserve the things they wish to dish out to others. If it is so good and enlightened, why aren’t they the first ones to drink the Cool Aide, Wolf?

    I know why.