More protection for terrified householders

Five burglaries were among the crimes reported and (below)  PC Mike Schouteten.
Five burglaries were among the crimes reported and (below) PC Mike Schouteten.
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TERRIFIED householders who attack a burglar in their home will get more protection under Government plans, the new Justice Secretary will say today.

Chris Grayling plans to change the law to ensure even householders who react in a way that may seem disproportionate in the cold light of day will be protected from prosecution.

It comes after Britain’s most senior judge reinforced the notion that a person’s home is their castle, saying furious householders have the right to get rid of burglars in their homes and are not expected to remain calm when confronted by intruders.

In his first Tory Party conference speech as Justice Secretary, Mr Grayling will also reinforce his tough-justice approach by saying all community sentences should have a punitive element.

Mr Grayling will say: “Being confronted by an intruder in your own home is terrifying, and the public should be in no doubt that the law is on their side. That is why I am strengthening the current law.

“Householders who act instinctively and honestly in self defence are victims of crime and should be treated that way.

“We need to dispel doubts in this area once and for all, and I am very pleased to be today delivering on the pledge that we made in Opposition.”

The Justice Secretary plans to change the law to ensure that any frightened householder who is confronted by a burglar and uses force that is reasonable in the circumstances but in the cold light of day seems disproportionate will not be guilty of an offence.

Force which is “grossly disproportionate” will still be against the law, but this is a higher bar than the current law which says force must always be proportionate.

But primary legislation will be needed before the changes can come into force and no specific parliamentary time for this has yet been set.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, last month stressed that householders have the right to use force “to get rid of the burglar”.

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