Firearms, murder and the law.

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by revmodes, Jun 5, 2010.

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  1. I hold a FAC, regularly go to a gun club and also control vermin on farmland for the farmers,in return they invite me to organised shoots maybe once or twice a year, My question is , had i/we been on a perfectly legal shoot on a farm and the "taxi driver" had pulled up , jumped out and shot dead a guy fixing the gate of the field we were in, were would anyone stand with the law if they in turn shot dead the killer?
    Initial reaction of course that "you cannot take the law into your own hands" Having said that, this nutter is/was obviously a danger to others,to throw a further spanner in the works, lets say that the guy who shot and killed him is an off duty firearms officer,having a days shooting with his mates from the gunclub !
    Interesting scenario, additionally i wonder how the law in the USA/Australia would deal with such a situation?
  2. an interesting question - surely it would be self defence as if you saw someone shot in front of you any reasonable person would be in fear for their own life?
  3. If you were lawfully in possession of the firearm (yes) and the use of force was proportionate (gun/gun=yes), then it would be self defence, no case to answer.
  4. If you're allowed to use 'reasonable force' ,surely like-for-like would be effective...if he comes at you with a baseball bat and you fight him off with a golf club, that seems if he comes at you with a rifle it would seem reasonable to use a similar weapon to defend yourself!
  5. I thought in the UK having the possibility of flight and choosing to apply lethal force instead would be problematic.
  6. personally, I agree, you would be able to claim justifiable self defence. You have just watched him shoot someone else and you could claim, quite legitimately that you feared for your own safety at that moment.

    Of course, if he was getting back into his car, and then you shot him, then you would no longer be able to make that claim. The danger to you had passed and he was no longer a threat. If you shot him at that moment you would be prosecuted (a'la Lee Clegg).

    If you felt that he was a threat and there was some other way to disarm him and remove the threat then any court would expect you to take that action. If however, you felt that there was not any other course of action, and you were armed and you shot him, then that would stand as a defence in law.

    Remember, Tony Martin was prosecuted as the guy was running away. Had he shot him at another point, then the self defence claim would almost certainly have stuck.

    The law is very clear. You can do lots of things in self defence, including killing someone if the circumstance dictate that it was the only course open to you.
  7. Self defence or immediate defence of others yes, in case he drives off to do someone else no. Just be sure he's dead with one round, we don't want his side of the story coming out.
  8. as long as it falls under the (my life was in danger or others near you!)
    be interesting to see which side of the law you would be if you shot him while he was walking away back into a vehicle!!??
  9. If the aggressor has a rifle/shotgun then the possibility of flight is reduced dependant on range so if he/she is close enough to hit you then it would be considered reasonable to use your own firearm to defend yourself. However if the aggressor is 500 metres away then quite likely not.
  10. Proportionality is all. So an 8-stone woman shooting an unarmed 20-stone bouncer in self-defence is going to be in a very different situation to a 20-stone bouncer shooting an 8-stone woman and claiming self defence.

    It's not proportionality of armament that counts, but proportionality of force.

    You may also use force in defence of another. So if you saw a shotgun loony taking aim at a victim, you could quite lawfully drop him with your deer rifle from 200 yards.

    Not that the law of self-defence will necessarily stop the police and CPS from trying to do you for it.
  11. I would say that, if you shot him fearing for your safety or that of others and you knew he was on a killing spree, you may well be justified in shooting him as he got back in the car. Cant see a jury convicting you even if you were charged.

  12. No question as to which side of the law you would be on. The wrong one. The danger had passed at that moment. No entitlement to use the self defence argument. It's been tested in court many times. You would go down.

    As I said above, remember the Lee Clegg case. Just a split second divided him from self defence to murder. He fired as the car had gone past and therefore was not in danger. Murder. That's how the courts took it, and still would. Even if you knew that the person had killed 50 others a moment ago, you would have no right to kill him unless you or others were under threat at that moment.

    That's why the UK white card changed a few years ago. If they have shot someone and are running away, you cannot shoot. You have to let them go if you cannot use minimum force to stop them.
  13. I think the earlier point about knowing that the man was a mass-murderer who would almost certainly go in search of fresh victims if he escaped, would put you in a grey area legally. One for the jury.
  14. maguire

    maguire LE Book Reviewer

    I've got £20 says if that situation ever occurs the CPS will still pull out every stop to nail the bloke who shot the shooter.

    any takers?
  15. I think that in hindsight you might be right in that one occasion, but, the court would weigh up the merits of the case and you would still run the risk. Of course, if you knew that he was on a spree, then you could legitimately say that you were under threat at that moment couldn't you? Which court isn't going to sympathise with that point of view in the light of what happened?

    All I am saying is that there is a clear and defined set of circumstance that allow you to kill, and that comes down to the threat or perceived threat at that moment in time.

    You don't have to let someone hit you before you hit them to claim self defence, but you must have formed an "honest belief" that you were in danger. That is the test the courts will apply. You could have, of course, formed the wrong opinion, but if you can show why you believed you were in danger then the court will find for you and not against you.