AN Englishman’s home is his castle, and long may that be so in the UK.
A recent tragic case has highlighted why it is so important that people can act in self- defence when they or their loved ones believe their lives are in danger.
I can only imagine what was going through the mind of pensioner Richard Osborn-Brooks when he found a burglar in his kitchen in the dead of night.
A combination of fear and the duty to protect his frail and elderly wife upstairs caused the 78-year-old to stab the intruder, who was reportedly carrying a screwdriver.
The man, a career criminal, unfortunately died.
While Mr Osborn-Brooks was hailed a hero across the world’s media, he was arrested on suspicion of murder, a move that attracted widespread condemnation.
After he was bailed, the Crown Prosecution Service dropped all charges.
The consequences have been horrendous all round, not least for the elderly couple, who are now in hiding as revenge is threatened.
Justice Secretary David Gauke has supported the right of self-defence, which was legally strengthened 2013.
The law made clear that householders acting in such a way, and using ‘reasonable force’, will not ordinarily be convicted of an offence.
To me, this seems eminently sensible.
Crucially, the Law Society says police in these cases must be careful to distinguish between self-defence and ‘red mist’ anger.
For example, Tony Martin, the farmer who shot a burglar in 2000, was imprisoned for manslaughter after a jury found that he had, in effect, ambushed the robbers.
In contrast, the burglar’s appearance in Mr Osborn-Brooks’ house was shockingly unexpected and his actions unpremeditated.
Lest there be any doubt, he was defending his wife and home and deserves the full support of the law.