Saturday, 5 November 2005

Defend yourself

I got this from the Lexis legal site.
The Bill to change the law on resisting intruders received early rebuffs in Government, signalling it will struggle to become law. Under the plan, only those who use "grossly disproportionate force" against an intruder would leave themselves liable to prosecution. At present, the law allows homeowners to use only "reasonable force" in defence of themselves and their homes.
To my cynical but untutored eye, this looks like another Government dogs' dinner on the part of those who draw up planned legislation. Opponents say that the existing law is sufficient and there have been very few - albeit well-publicised - cases where charges have been brought. We have the present standard of "reasonable" force with the proposed barrier for the new Act being "grossly disproportionate" force. So, beyond reasonable or plain disproportionate will be OK. Who will decide what is ordinary disproportionate (?) and what is grossly etc? On this sort of thing, are the fortunes of my friends in wigs made.

My dog continues to amaze me. She is wary of dogs we meet in public - she was bitten by a rogue Labrador when a pup. We were walking in some woods today and she was off checking on her stock of rabbits. Coming along the path towards me was a fairly large Alsatian. He was very alert and stopped, hair raised, and snarled at me. It was not the sort of snarl that would respond to kindness and the mutt did not sit when I gave it a trainer's sort of instruction. I was just adjusting my balance to give it a quick kick in the slats if it came closer when Sable appeared. She stood alongside me and snarled at the much larger dog. Not a trace of fear. The other dog went off sideways into the undergrowth and that was that.

In her case, what she did was well within the bounds of reasonable never mind disproportionate.

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