Skip to comments.Homeowners ‘have right to meet burglars with force’
Posted on 12/22/2006 1:18:08 PM PST by neverdem
HOUSEHOLDERS can attack a burglar without fear of the law unless they act maliciously or with excessive force, the Criminal Court of Appeal said in a fresh ruling on the rights of victims yesterday.
The ruling upholding the rights of victims to defend themselves and their property came a week after Mayo farmer Pádraig Nally was cleared of the manslaughter of burglar John Frog Ward, whom he shot dead in self defence in October 2004.
Yesterday an Appeal Court judge said burglars must expect to be lawfully met with force to drive them off, while householders had no legal obligation to retreat from their home during a burglary.
Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman said: Although (the burglar) is not liable to be killed by the householder simply for being a burglar, he is an aggressor and may lawfully be met by retaliatory force.
But Mr Justice Hardiman stressed it was ridiculous to suggest that a citizen, however outraged, may deliberately kill a person simply for being a burglar.
It was an elementary proposition that a burglar cannot lawfully lose his life simply because he trespasses in the home of another person with intent to steal.
But the judge conceded that it was impossible to lay down any formula with which the degree of force used by the householder can be instantly calculated.
It would be unjust to judge a burglary victim against the standards of a hypothetical reasonable person as they are not in the position of an ordinary person deciding what course of action is best in the circumstances. Yet it could not be left to individuals to lay down for themselves how much force they are entitled to use, the court said.
In many cases, it will in practice take the deployment of grossly disproportionate force, or evidence of actual malice... to fix the householder with liability, the judge said.
There must be both a subjective and objective component in the assessment of the degree of force which may properly be used by the victim, the court held.
Mr Justice Hardiman made the remarks while dismissing an appeal by 20-year-old burglar Anthony Barnes against his conviction for the murder of elderly horsebreeder Richard Dick Forristal at the Carrigavantry Stud, Co Waterford, in 2005.
Barnes claimed he killed Mr Forristal in self-defence but the court said burglars who kill could not enjoy the full protection of the law as they had initiated the grave aggression by breaking in.
The court said a burglar could never be regarded as wholly blameless in such a killing and intruders would at the very minimum be convicted of manslaughter.
Even if good ole' Padraig was half in the bag, I support him defending his home! Go, Padraig Nally, go!
~ Blue Jays ~
Define excessive force - loophole for the thugs.
How the Hell they can complicate such an obviously simple situation is beyond me.
So; firearms are allowed in the Irish Republic ?
Warning: Do not assume that at my house
Like there was any doubt on my end.
Wow, that's a lot of words and a whole lot of nothing said.
Very few and highly regulated.
Pity. They'd have fewer burglars with a few more guns in circulation.
But can they eat burgers with forks?
It might also be worthwhile to read up on the Briney Trapgun Case from Iowa back in the early 1970s. Never set a trap or spring gun and never shoot at something you can't see.
"Officer, it was dark and I thought he had a gun, but I just tried to shoot it out of his hand. I wasn't trying to kill him or even hurt him. I must have missed since there are two holes in his forehead and two in his heart. I'm going to have to spend more time practicing."
Interesting that this is from Ireland. My father is from Galway and he tells the story of what happened when some tinkers (homeless Irish vagabonds) came to his uncle's farmhouse one day in the 1920's. The men were working in the fields so it was the lady of the house and some daughters at home when the tinkers entered the house. They demanded food before they would leave. Not taking kindly to the demand as opposed to a request, the woman stated that they'd get nothing and to be on their way. They refused to leave and started looking menacingly at the women. Then the uncle returned from the field thru the back door and asked what was going on. The wife explained. The uncled asked the tinkers "Did anyone see you come in here?". They replied "no". My uncle then reached up for the ax on the wall and said "Good, then no one will see you leave unless you get the F%^#K out now.".... Needless to say, they left and never came back...
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