14:21 09 October 2012
Today will see a review of the legalities surrounding homeowners and their actions when confronted by burglars on their property, as the Conservative Party Conference will meet in Birmingham for another day of talks.
Householders are expecting to see a change in the current law so that if they attack burglars they will receive more legal protection. The re-think on the topic comes from the new Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.
The legal system is to revise its guidelines on self-defence so that it is clear to people about prosecution laws. If a person is confronted by a burglar in their home and has reason to be fearful for their safety, they are permitted to use ‘reasonable’ force in a bid to protect themselves or others. It is legal if they act ‘instinctively’ and they will not face prosecution.
It is understood that ‘grossly’ disproportionate force will remain illegal - which relates to grievous bodily harm. This is thought to include inflicting harm on an intruder when they are unconscious.
Mr. Grayling is expected to express the following to the Conservative Party conference today, as reported by The Independent: “Being confronted by an intruder in your own home is terrifying and the public should be in no doubt that the law is on their side.
“Householders who act instinctively and honestly in self-defence are victims of crime and should be treated that way.”
The Prime Minister David Cameron spoke about the issue on the BBC Breakfast show. He told the BBC people need to be well informed in case the situation arises: “This is something that bothers people, and quite frankly it bothers me.
“There has been uncertainty that if a burglar comes into your home, people aren't sure about what they are and are not allowed to do.”
The news comes following last month’s events in Leicestershire, where two people were arrested after they shot an intruder.
Mr. Grayling wishes to make changes to the law as soon as possible, according to the BBC, and that a bill could be passed in Parliament in the coming months.
Two other cases where individuals tackled intruders on their property have previously caused much controversy. In 2008, Munir Hussain was initially sent to prison for 30 months for attacking intruder Walid Saleem – who received a smaller sentence for reportedly tying up Mr. Hussain’s family. Also, a farmer, Tony Martin, shot an intruder in 1999 who died and he was sentenced to prison where, after his appeal, he served three years for manslaughter.
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