Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Domestic Self-Defence

The Right Honourable Kenneth Clarke QC MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, has said a householder who knifes a burglar will not have committed a criminal offence under plans to clarify the law on self-defence in England.

Timothy Belmont expects that this legal clarification shall be applied in Northern Ireland.

Human Rights legislation emanates from the European Union and primarily pertains to criminals, to my mind.


Anonymous said...

Heaven help those who come after the Belmont silver on a dark night!!


Timothy Belmont said...

Bet they wouldn't consider the amount of elbow grease required!

John Self said...

Human rights legislation pertains not primarily to criminals but to actions by the state or the representatives of the state. So while I have little sympathy for a burglar who finds himself on the wrong end of a sharp point, the comments we sometimes hear in such situations - "What about the human rights of victims?" - is misguided. Human rights laws protect us - and those not like us - from abuses by government. They do not protect us from actions by the dregs of society invading our homes (it would be nice, but fanciful, for criminals to adhere to a statutory framework of respect for their victims' rights).

Such issues do not so much come from human rights legislation as the rule of law - nothing new-fanged or European about that. If we respect the principle that no one is above the law, then we must take the rough with the smooth.

Timothy Belmont said...

Well put, John Self.

It's merely that I cannot recall one occasion in my life when Human Rights legislation has ever been applicable, let alone of use, to me.

I lead a fairly quiet life - I reckon - and try to keep out of trouble. I don't like confrontation.

I only ever hear about criminals or prisoners who hire expensive lawyers at our expense to enact such legislation!

John Self said...

Well, quite. I have never been its beneficiary and don't expect to be (perhaps I should say I hope never to be!). It's a little like the golden thread running through the criminal justice system, of innocence until proven guilty. This operates on the basis that it is better for ten guilty men to go free than for one innocent man to be wrongly convicted. It can produce unpleasant results, but it is a price we have to pay.