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nielmag
nielmag's picture
Restaurateur tracks down, knocks out iPhone theft suspect

Although i do not recommend going after criminals and using karate as a means of vindication rather than self protection, i do think it is a cool story nonetheless!  Although we dont have video of which techniques are being used, clearly states he used an armbar, and strikes:  Karate is a complete art (again, which should be used for civilian self protection, not vindication!)

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/23689515-418/restaurateur-tracks-down-knocks-out-suspect-in-iphone-theft.html

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

Awesome, glad he didn't get arested for assault, which would have happened in the UK. Criminals have more rights than the victims here.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Black Tiger wrote:
Criminals have more rights than the victims here.

They don’t. We have a legal right to self-defence and a set of laws which are well worded and realistically reflect the nature of such situations.

Here is a link to the Crown Prosecution website which explains simply what UK law is:

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/self_defence/

If you are familiar with the law here, you’ll know that it is very solid. Getting people to think otherwise – as politicians, certain newspapers, and martial arts instructors are prone to do – makes people hesitant about defending themselves for fear of being prosecuted. A fear which is not born out by what happens in reality and helps the criminal by paralysing the victim into inactivity.

What we don’t have a legal right to do is take the law in to our own hands and deliver “punishment”. If we do that, then we are breaking the law and by definition are a criminal. Even then, the law tends to be pretty lenient on such people i.e. the relatively recent case of a man who chased a bugler, who had also tied his family up, down the street where he and his brother battered him with various sports equipment until he was left permanently brain damaged. If memory serves me right, he got a suspended sentence and his brother got three months and was out in weeks. On the other side, people often cite the “Tony Martin” case where a farmer served time for shooting and killing a burglar. What was not so widely reported – because it does not serve certain political agendas – was that the gun used was illegally held and forensics around the locations where the actual gun was fired showed that Martin’s story of self-defence did not add up. It was therefore concluded by the jury – people just like us – that he had hidden in wait for them i.e. he could have contacted the police, but instead chose to take the law into his own hands. The chairman of his parole board said that they considered Martian to be “a very dangerous man” which is why they refused him parole (later backed up by the High Court). The portrayal of him by the media as a honest farmer who was just legitimately defending himself and his home is not a view taken by the jury and the authorities. Martin was diagnosed as having a paranoid personality disorder and this contributed to his sentence being reduced to man-slaughter on appeal on the grounds of diminished responsibility. It is however worth remebering that the original jury members found him guilty of murder, and the notion that he acted in self-defence was roundly rejected by all the people who passed juedgment on this case. It was vigilantism and vengance.

I’ve consistently found that if you look behind the headlines, there is normally good reason why the jury – who are privy to all information, not just the titillating bits that help sell newspapers – have reached the conclusions they did.

We also don’t have the right to fight in the street (see latest podcast) so willingly engaging in a brawl and then claiming self-defence is not a wise course of action.

We do, however, have a legal right to defend ourselves and I think the law of this land is simple and true to the reality of situations. People should learn it, so they know they can forget about it when faced with a legitimate self-protection situation. Telling people the law does not support their right to defend themselves is both inaccurate and unhelpful.

I would ask anyone to read the actual law linked to above and then state which part gives the criminal more rights than the person protecting themselves?

It should be noted that the guidance on the CPS website states the following:

“When reviewing cases involving assertions of self-defence or action in the prevention of crime/preservation of property, prosecutors should be aware of the balance to be struck: the public interest in promoting a responsible contribution on the part of citizens in preserving law and order; and in discouraging vigilantism and the use of violence generally.”

Note that vigilantism is something that is sought to be discouraged, which I personally think is a good thing. The case of the paediatrician who was attacked by a mob because they mistaken thought she was a peadophile after mistaking the words "paediatrician" and "peadophile" is an example that leaps to mind as to what can happen when people think they can deliver “justice” independently of the legal system.

All of the following is all from UK law:

"It is both good law and good sense that a man who is attacked may defend himself. It is both good law and good sense that he may do, but only do, what is reasonably necessary." - Palmer v R, [1971] AC 814

"A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large." - Section 3 Criminal Law Act 1967

"If there has been an attack so that self defence is reasonably necessary, it will be recognised that a person defending himself cannot weigh to a nicety the exact measure of his defensive action. If the jury thought that that in a moment of unexpected anguish a person attacked had only done what he honestly and instinctively thought necessary, that would be the most potent evidence that only reasonable defensive action had been taken ..." – Lord Morris (Palmer v R 1971 AC 814

“A man who is attacked or believes that he is about to be attacked may use such force as is both necessary and reasonable in order to defend himself. If that is what he does then he acts lawfully.” - R v Balogun

“In the case of self-defence, where self-defence or the prevention of crime is concerned, if the jury come to the conclusion that the defendant believed, or may have believed that he was being attacked or that a crime was being committed and the force was necessary to protect himself or to prevent the crime, then the prosecution have not proved the case. If however, the defendants alleged belief was mistaken and if the mistake was an unreasonable one, that may be a powerful reason for coming to the conclusion that the belief was not honestly held and should be rejected. Even if the jury come to the conclusion that the mistake was an unreasonable one, if the defendant may genuinely have been labouring under it, he is entitled to rely on it.” - Crown Vs. Williams 1984:

“If no more force is used to repel the attack, such force is not unlawful and no crime is committed. Furthermore, a man about to be attacked does not have to wait for his assailant to strike the first blow or fire the first shot, circumstances may justify a pre-emptive strike. Neither does he or she have to retreat before using force.” - R vs. Beckford 1988

There’s obviously more besides, but with this selection you can see we have a right to defend ourselves; that the law does not expect us to judge to a nicety the level of force used and instinctive action is taken as being reasonable; that we have the legal right to use the force necessary to project ourselves, others, to protect our property and to prevent crime; that we are judged on the situation as we honestly believed it to be … even if it later transpires we are wrong; that we can hit first; that we don’t have to try to retreat; and so on.

It’s all very solid stuff and it also worth remembering that the burden of proof is not on you but on the prosecution. It’s not up to you to prove you acted in self-defence, but for the prosecution to prove you didn’t. They need to prove you didn’t hold the beliefs you did in order to prosecute. That’s pretty hard to do. People are simply not prosecuted in this country for acting in self-defence; as is born out by all the evidence I have ever seen.

So long as you are legitimately acting in self-defence – not “street fighting” or engaged in vigilantism – then the law is very much on your side and we do ourselves and our students no favours by suggesting otherwise.

It’s a pet peeve of mine … as you may have noticed ;-)

All the best,

Iain

JWT
JWT's picture

A solid post Iain.  Legal underpinning and understanding in our (self protection)  training is so important.

In an interview with Mark Dawes, Professor of Law Gary Slapper noted that the CPS had found in 2005, when they looked at prosecutions over the preceding 15 years, there had been over 20 million crimes that they had looked into with regard to the use of force, but during that time there had only been 11 cases where people had been prosecuted for excessive use of force in self defence.

John Titchen

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

Iain Abernethy wrote:
It’s a pet peeve of mine … as you may have noticed ;-)

All the best,

Iain

Hi Iain, no I didn't notice hehehehe

Thanks for the information on this, it a pet peeve of mine too, I was once arrested for defending myself against an attacker, but the CPS decided not to proceed due to my statement.

Tau
Tau's picture

To append to Iain's post, I highly recommend the books by Mark Dawes, primarily:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Understanding-Reasonable-Force-Mark-Dawes/dp/1846670128/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384346653&sr=8-1&keywords=mark+dawes

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Understanding-Reasonable-Force-Edition-2012-ebook/dp/B009GILW86/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1384346664&sr=8-2&keywords=mark+dawes

I recommend getting both versions as the update trimmed a couple of bits that I thought very useful. I keep the second edition on my iPhone (Kindle app) for reference on the go.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

JWT wrote:
In an interview with Mark Dawes, Professor of Law Gary Slapper noted that the CPS had found in 2005, when they looked at prosecutions over the preceding 15 years, there had been over 20 million crimes that they had looked into with regard to the use of force, but during that time there had only been 11 cases where people had been prosecuted for excessive use of force in self defence.

Exactly! I remember that interview being discussed on Radio 4 and, if memory serves, the eleven cases in question involved things like throwing an intruder into a pit and setting them on fire! Excessive force in anyone’s book.

As I said, people are simply not prosecuted for legitimately defending themselves in this country and we need to ensure that is communicated to those we teach so they can put what can be a debilitating worry to one side.

Black Tiger wrote:
I was once arrested for defending myself against an attacker, but the CPS decided not to proceed due to my statement.

So there you go :-) Even in your own case the system worked proving the criminals don’t have more rights than the law abiding. You didn’t even reach the prosecution stage.

All the best,

Iain

PASmith
PASmith's picture

So glad Iain made that reply. Far more eloquent and incisive than I could be. And bang on the money.

"Criminals have more rights than normal people" is Daily Mail level rhetoric that is not shown to be the case. Sure some nice people might occasionally fall foul of the law (there was a guy on martial arts planet with such a story recently) but it's a miniscule worry IMHO.

Paul_D
Paul_D's picture

Thanks for the book recommendation Tau :-)

While we are (tentatively) on the subject of pet peeves, why does every single media report refer to martial artists as "matrial arts master"?

Stevenson
Stevenson's picture

Quote:
To append to Iain's post, I highly recommend the books by Mark Dawes, primarily:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Understanding-Reasonable-Force-Mark-Dawes/dp/1846670128/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384346653&sr=8-1&keywords=mark+dawes

Tahnks for the recommonedation. This one is on its way to me now.