House-holder Self Defence Up For Review

( – MINISTERS COULD REVIEW the law on self-defence when householders are threatened by violence from burglars, following Conservative calls.

Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling has called for judges to shift the legal balance between the burglar and the householder towards the latter.

Home secretary Alan Johnson responded yesterday by acknowledging a review was possible.

“I’m sure in government given the amount of public concern about it I’m sure we would [review the law],” he said on the Andrew Marr programme.

Mr Grayling had suggested that people faced with violence from burglars should be able to take the law into their own hands.

He told this morning’s Today programme that if the Tories came to power ministers would force courts to “apply a higher threshold” as to whether disproportionate force was applied or not, in a case where a householder had used violence to defend themselves.

The Conservatives want people to be given the right to use levels of force that are not deemed to be “grossly disproportionate”.

“The comment by the judge was ‘we can’t have people taking the law into your own hands’. Very often people will want to take the law into their own hands,” Mr Grayling told the Today programme.

“What we should do is set a higher bar for the courts to say we, the society, want you to provide a higher level of protection to the householder.”

Mr Grayling’s comments come a week after a man whose family had been tied up by a burglar was jailed.

Munir Hussain had used a cricket bat to beat one of the burglars. The case is going to appeal.

Around 20 cases where an intruder has been the victim of violence by the householder have taken place in the last decade, Mr Grayling claimed.

He said that the Tories’ priority in this situation would be to ensure that people would not stop to consider their “legal position” before defending themselves.

“If you discover somebody standing over your bed in the small hours of the morning… you should be able to use violence to defend yourself,” Mr Grayling added.

He declined to comment on the Hussain case.

The government insists it has already acted to strike the right balance.

Mr Johnson said yesterday that it was “impossible not to feel uncomfortable”.

“There was nothing in this case that constricted or restricted the judge to make the decision he did,” he pressed.

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