Chris Grayling gets plenty of column inches this morning with a suggestion that the Conservatives will declare open season on burglars and allow householders to murder them. This is palpable nonsense, and the Conservatives will certainly do no such thing. Grayling has chosen a silly phrase ' "grossly disproportionate" to blow his dog whistle. Disproportionality is like pregnancy; you can't be a little bit disproportionate. You either are or you aren't.
As the law stands, if I wake in the night to find an intruder inside my dark home, and he confronts me rather than flees, and if I'm in genuine fear of my life, I can strike him dead with whatever weapon comes to hand and do so quite justly and legally, even if when I switch the lights on the knife or screwdriver I thought he was holding turns out to be a TV remote. The existing law covers this. If, on the other hand, I return home in daylight to find a scrawny teen unplugging my video in circumstances where there was no threat, real or perceived, to my life and I kill him it would not be legal or just.
It was not reasonable for Tony Martin to shoot his burglar in the back as he was running away. It was not reasonable for Munir Hussain to beat his burglar half to death when the threat has passed; had Hussain killed him when the burglar was holding him at knife point, a time at which he may have felt his life was in danger, he would have had just reason.
I know from your comments below that many of you will disagree with me on this but I ask you to consider that what you are defending is not the right of self-defence, but the right of retribution. And if so, whether you really really want to remove the right of retribution from the courts to the aggrieved party?
If you sell me a car so dodgy it amounts to criminal fraud, do you also uphold my right to come around with a couple of the lads and hack-off your left hand in retribution? If you give me a forged tenner in my change, can I slit your nostrils open there and then?
Anyway, blogging from now on will be light. Many thanks and good wishes to all those who have commented throughout the year (even the weird Japanese dialogue) and may you all have a peaceful Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.