'Reasonable' Force

A minor detail. A little protection. Short of Manpower! A Gurkha Personnel protection detail.

In Britain there is an attitude & restrictions to limit a person’s ability to protect themselves.

This restriction is counter to a natural right and is subject to contradictions as has recently been demonstrated by the police, in action against individuals armed with visible knives acting with active violent intent.

The police shot to kill in no uncertain terms or varied options given their dominant position.  

The word over used in British law is ‘Reasonable' force. This is subject to a flaw.

Without a clear set of examples ‘Reasonable’ is highly subject to varied interpretation.

If for example a person gets charged with excessive force defending themselves, their family & their home from a burglar and the judge is [example] a bit like a Jeremy Corbyn [a non-violent person under any circumstance] and takes a dim view of any violence {including by the police} The interpretation will go against you and you will be convicted, punished & criminalised internationally.

We saw that the police viewed the ‘intent’ of the persons with knives as the key factor & killed them on the spot.

If ‘they’ were a buglar in your house and they were killed with your Olympic javlin, You would be fast tracked for prison.

In a fisty cuff situation [as is seen from time to time] one drunken wayward punch results in instant death for an individual. Conversely we see a boxer unconscious on his feet after dozens of professional punch impacts and yet the vulnerable boxer is still throwing punches, seemingly unstoppable and working on automatic to succeed at their conscious task.

To apply the concept of ‘Reasonable’ in defence from actions of real defence or outcomes is an error and an inadequacy of law.



The Law and Evidential Sufficiency

Self-defence is available as a defence to crimes committed by use of force.

The basic principles of self-defence are set out in (Palmer v R, [1971] AC 814); approved in R v McInnes, 55 Cr App R 551:

"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."


Reasonable Force:

A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances for the purposes of:

Householders are only permitted to rely on the heightened defence for householders if:

1) They are using force to defend themselves or others (See(8A)(a)).  They cannot seek to rely on the defence if they were acting for another purpose, such as protecting their property, although the law on the use of reasonable force will continue to apply in these circumstances.

Pre-emptive strikes:

There is no rule in law to say that a person must wait to be struck first before they may defend themselves, (see RvDeana, 2 Cr App R 75). 

Final Consequences:

The final consequences of a course may not be relevant to the issue as to whether the force used was reasonable. Although, the conduct of the suspect resulted in severe injuries to another or even death, this conduct may well have been reasonable in the circumstances. On the other hand, the infliction of very superficial or minor injuries may have been a product of simple good fortune rather than ’intention’.

Once force was deemed to be unreasonable, the final consequences would be relevant to the public interest considerations.

Degree of excessive force: if the degree of force used is not very far beyond the threshold of what is reasonable, a prosecution may not be needed in the public interest.

Premeditated violence: the extent to which the accused found themselves unexpectedly confronted by a violent situation, as opposed to having planned and armed themselves in the expectation of a violent situation.'



As you can see from the above guidelines the first simple biased error is to assume force in defence as a crime for which self-defence can be used as a defence.

[Once it has been confirmed that it is a burglar, {violent attack} {from which there is no escape & death of the assailent occurs} there should be no crime to defend.] 

Once you add [  ] the impossible task of knowing how strong or dangerous a burglar is or is not, we can envisage a situation in which a kind householder, who may be larger than the burglar, chooses to use an appropriate attitude of reasonable force as he encounters the burglar. The house holder could find himself suddenly faced with the human equivalent of a pit bull terrier and his one chance to strike is gone.

1. Even if the householder did attack the burglar with full prejudice and 101% personal available force, it may have been water of a sea eagles leading edge.

2. Assuming that the householder is not facing imminent physical destruction, is not reflected by the assessment of ‘Reasonable’ by an outcome that would have the burglar laying dead and smashed beyond recognition.  

3. 'Intent’ is key to Reasonable Force in situation. {as demonstrated by the police} 

4. Intent is invisible until action occurs & only partially visible during action [to perhaps enable the intended objective]

5. Encountering a burglar without a visible weapon [should not mean that arming yourself would be ‘unreasonable’ and illegal] and then killing the burglar with a weapon [anything] to hand, should not be considered unreasonable, given that the burglar is inside your property and his intent cannot be known or the extent of his intent. {Like the strength of the boxer ‘intent’ cannot be assumed or predicted and to approach a situation assuming anything but maximum threat with your immanent destruction, would be a failure of reasonable self preservation and justifies [Maxinmum Attack] force and all available methods.

There is a problem with dealing with ‘intent’ – it is occasionally accompanied by Determination. If the intent [whether incidental to plan or not] is to smash your skull in and not to stop until you are unconscious because of the target intention and 101% commitment and engaged, [as with the Jihadi] and assuming that you are the unprepared weak physical specimen, the option of reasonable is illusionary and fatal to consider until the assailant is down and is not able to get up. It is a great danger to try to restrain a fit and capable person in kill mode. It is better to stand off and warn not to rise or be attacked again. But the safest option is to induce unconsciousness as fast as possible. 

[ it is a leathal danger to decide on anything 'reasonable' in the face of active present violent intent..]

6. The law wrongly attempts to prevent a householder from preparing for the worst probable situations {under any circumstances.} If a householder places rudimentary weapons in each room or complex tools that require skilled training {given that Britain does not allow firearms even for home defence} if a situation were to occur and the householder killed with sensible speed, a burglar of unknown strength or intent with perhaps a hidden weapon, the householder could be charged with a pre-meditated killing. It is as though British Law, under the Courts and the police, taking a prejudiced view point, would prefer the death of a victim in preference to any fighting back.