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Tony Martin’s case caught the public’s attention following the shooting of Fred Barras (16) in 1999.

Mr Martin was convicted of murder but later reduced to manslaughter following an appeal. Recently, Kenneth Hughill (83) was acquitted of GBH after just 24 minutes deliberation following the shooting of a trespasser, Richard Stables (44).

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So what force can be used when confronted by a trespasser?  The position is not as many believe after the following examples.  The position remains that the householder will be held to account and his or her actions forensically scrutinised.

Reasonableness remains a very important aspect of these cases.

The position in such cases under section 76(5A) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, has been clarified in R v Ray [2017] EWCA Crim 1391. The position is more complicated than we are often led to believe.  The test is not just: ‘is the court satisfied that the force was grossly disproportionate’, but whether ‘if the court considers that force may not have been so disproportionate, is it satisfied that the force was unreasonable’. Reasonableness is therefore part of the householder defence as it is for self-defence generally.

The court will certainly take the following in to account when considering the force used:

  • the shock of coming upon an intruder
  • the presence of other help
  • the vulnerability of the occupants
  • the time of day
  • the desire to protect the home and its occupants
  • the conduct of the intruder at the time
  • what weapon was used (if any)

If you have been charged with such an offence or have any criminal defence requirements please contact Darren Rogers or call 07886777784 to speak with him directly.  Darren has over 20 years of experience dealing with major crime and complex cases.

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