Shadow Home Sec. Chris Grayling's plans for a "grossly disproportionate" test for household defence have been branded "state-sponsored revenge" by a top lawyer.
Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling’s plans for a “grossly disproportionate” test for household defence against intruders have been branded “horrible” by the lawyer who defended Munir Hussain – the man whose case Grayling has hijacked to justify his new policy.
Hussain was originally sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment for chasing down and tackling a burglar who held his family at knife-point – a sentence suspended by the Court of Appeal last week. His lawyer, Michael Wolkind QC, of top criminal chambers 2 Bedford Row, told yesterday’s Politics Show that the law didn’t need to be changed. He said:
“The law already recognises that people react a certain way in the heat of the moment, but grossly disproportionate is a horrible idea. I’m not sure this would allow people to respond outside the home or this is just for homeowners; If I’m outside the home and someone tries to abduct my child why shouldn’t I have the same rights to defend my child there as I would inside the home…
“It sounds like state-sponsored revenge. I don’t understand why sentencing should take place in the home. Why can’t it go through the courts, why can’t the jury, as they always do, decide what’s reasonable?
“Juries decide at the moment whether the action of the householder or a victim is reasonable and that’s how it should be, sentencing for the judge, for the police originally whether to prosecute, and there are cases where they don’t prosecute, where the imbalance is so clear that they don’t prosecute to begin with.”
Watch the exchange below:
Grayling once again cited Ireland’s new laws on household defence – dubbed a “licence to kill” – as an example Britain should follow. It’s a law he has spoken of before. In December, Left Foot Forward reported his inability to give direct answers to certain hypothetical situations that could ensue if such a law was implemented, answers he again failed to provide yesterday.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.