London police chief says self-defense laws need reform

[JURIST] London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens said in an interview Saturday that he believed the current UK laws addressing the rights of home owners to defend themselves against intruders needed reform. To avoid liability, the current law requires the homeowner to prove that the force used in resisting an intruder has to be 'reasonable' to the circumstances. This determination is made during trial, which is often viewed as automatic in light of a home invasion that results in injury to the invader. Recent rashes of burglary have, however, prompted criticism of the law, with critics claiming that the law favors criminals. Stevens advocated changing the laws so that homeowners would be presumed to have acted lawfully when acting inside their homes. He also said that prosecutions should be pursued only if death or gratuitous violence was observed at the scene. The Home Office blocked a similar attempt in April to allow homeowners the right to use whatever force necessary to defend themselves. BBC News has more.



 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.