Grayling seeks to emulate Irish Government’s “licence to kill” home defence bill

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling has said the Conservatives would “look at” emulating the Irish Government’s new “licence to kill” household defence law.

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling has said the Conservatives would “look at” emulating the Irish Government’s new “licence to kill” household defence law.

Speaking on this morning’s 5ive Live Breakfast (2:36:56-2:41:58), he said:

“I think the legal system should accept that people may overreact through fear and that’s the point really, they’ve done this in Ireland, they have raised the hurdle effectively, they’ve not used the test of grossly disproportionate, they’ve used a different one, and we’ll look at their option as well.

His remarks echo today’s Daily Mail headline “Tories’ licence to kill a burglar”. However, when questioned about the implications of his plans for certain scenarios, he failed to give any straight answers.

Q. Woman in kitchen stabs intruder to death; “grossly disproportionate”?

Grayling: “It’s difficult to give a straight answer to that because the circumstances could be so varied, and I think you’d have to leave it down to the court, but I think y’know…”

Q. What if it was a man?

Grayling: “Well, it’s, I mean, the reason why I’m kind of not giving you a straight answer, is actually it’s very difficult to define it exactly every circumstance, and you have to let the courts form a judgement based on the circumstance.”

The legislation, a draft bill appended to a report on Defences in Criminal Law, was launched by Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern last week. The Irish Times reports that under the new law:

“If a person is defending his or her dwelling, the requirement to retreat would not apply. In this situation, if the attack is serious and immediate, and the force used is necessary and proportionate, a person would be acquitted of murder if the intruder was killed during the incident.

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13 Responses to “Grayling seeks to emulate Irish Government’s “licence to kill” home defence bill”

  1. Shamik Das

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  2. Tim Nicholls

    RT: @leftfootfwd Grayling seeks to emulate Irish Government’s “licence to kill” home defence bill: http://is.gd/5w9I2

  3. Shamik Das

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  5. Carl Gardner

    I think the “licence to kill” phrase is unhelpful. Our current law “licenses killing” if it’s reasonable to kill and intruder bearing in mind your honest fear of what he’ll do, and provided killing him was not disproportionate force. What Chris Grayling is proposing isn’t a licence to kill, but a licence to use disproportionate force, whether that be disproportionately killing a burglar or disproportionately slapping a child shoplifter, for instance.

    The Irish Law Reform Commission’s proposal offer Chris Grayling no comfort, in truth. It would retain a clear requirment that force be necessary and proportionate, as your Irish Times quote shows. The proposal would “raise the bar”, yes, but arguably to a point that’s lower than existing English law, and certainly to a point much lower than Chris Grayling’s idea.

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