Widespread outrage over a pensioner-householder being required by the police to account for his actions (should he so wish) after a burglar sustained fatal injuries seems to me to be misplaced.
Had I gone through a similarly traumatic experience, and been forced to deploy a makeshift weapon, I would have expected the same procedure to be followed.
One justice secretary after another has opportunistically sought and failed to water down any intruder’s residual though inalienable right to safety of life and limb.
In truth, it is impossible to improve upon the long-established application of the law of self-defence.
As Lord Morris asserted in R v Palmer in 1971, a householder is (and from time immemorial has been) ‘entitled to use reasonable force’. And in those especially fraught circumstances ‘a person defending himself cannot weigh to a nicety the exact measure of the defensive action’.
That is a far cry from a ‘burglar’s charter’, just as it is light years away from any entitlement to declare open season on the intruder. What exactly is wrong with that?
Malcolm Fowler, solicitor and higher-court advocate, Birmingham