Do We Really Need a New Self Defence Law?

10th October, 2012, in Personal.


self defence lightening.jpg

The legal defence of ‘self-defence’ applies not only to burglary but to any form of assault. It applies in defence of property, other people and it can be pre-emptive: you don’t have to wait for somebody to pull the trigger first! (Check out the current law in section 76 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act here.)

"...maybe you should ask the government to legislate for lightning strikes instead!"

If somebody attacked you in the street or tried to take your car, would you really feel that you had no right to protect yourself or others? Perhaps not. So why do you feel that way for burglary? The truth is that (according to the CPS) there has been less than 1 prosecution every 2 years for this area of law for domestic burglaries. During that time approximately 90 people will be struck by lightening according to the RoSPA. Given the number of burglaries each year it means that for burglary, there is only a 1 in 1.4 million chance of being prosecuted if you have been a burgled.

The law is already on your side. For every one prosecution of someone who attacks a burglar there are 6 people who die from being stuck by lightening. Rather than scaremongering perhaps the government should reassure you that the law is already on your side. Or maybe you should ask the government to legislate for lightning strikes instead.

How did we calculate that? RoSPA says 30-60 people each year struck by lightening. Average 45 each year over 2 years is 90. It says 5-10% of those are fatal. Again, take average of 7.5% of 90 and you have 6.75 which we rounded down to 6 to be safe. ONS says 701k burlgaries for 2012, assume same again for 2013 is 1.4million over two years. CPS say 7 prosecutions for excessive self defence in 15 years from 1990 to 2005 in domestic burglaries see Guardian article.


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