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Does a Burglar consent (volenti non fit injuria)?

Re: Does a Burglar consent (volenti non fit injuria)?

Postby shootist » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:38 pm

While this is not a definitive case, it certainly seems to indicate that a conviction would be far from assured.

http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/1984/1.html&query="explosives+act"&method=boolean
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Re: Does a Burglar consent (volenti non fit injuria)?

Postby atticus » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:45 pm

The last two paragraphs are worth reading, with my emphasis added:

He may still arm himself for his own protection, if the exigency arises, although in so doing he may commit other offences. That he may be guilty of other offences will avoid the risk of anarchy contemplated by the Reference. It is also to be noted that although a person may "make" a petrol bomb with a lawful object, nevertheless, if he remains in possession of it after the threat has passed which made his object lawful, it may cease to be so. It will only be very rarely that circumstances will exist where the manufacture or possession of petrol bombs can be for a lawful object.

For these reasons the point of law referred by Her Majesty's Attorney General for the consideration of this Court is answered by saying: The defence of lawful object is available to a defendant against whom a charge under section 4 of the Act of 1883 has been preferred, if he can satisfy the jury on balance of probabilities that his object was to protect himself or his family or his property against imminent apprehended attack and to do so by means which he believed were no more than reasonably necessary to meet the force used by the attackers.


These judges appear to have been pointing towards a guilty verdict.
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Re: Does a Burglar consent (volenti non fit injuria)?

Postby dls » Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:07 pm

And also understand that a 1984 case predates all the current, and much more widely framed, terrorist offences.
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Re: Does a Burglar consent (volenti non fit injuria)?

Postby zebedee » Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:01 pm

Presumably, therefore, the old saying that an Englishman's home is his castle is completely unsupported in law, if it ever was at all, and we are well and truly stuffed if we try and apply that notion to deal with intruders.
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Re: Does a Burglar consent (volenti non fit injuria)?

Postby atticus » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:01 pm

... by killing them

You could always relocate to Texas, where it appears to be lawful to let a teenage girl have both barrels just because she has knocked on your front door to ask for help after her car has broken down. And is black.
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Re: Does a Burglar consent (volenti non fit injuria)?

Postby Slartibartfast » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:12 pm

zebedee wrote:Presumably, therefore, the old saying that an Englishman's home is his castle is completely unsupported in law, if it ever was at all, and we are well and truly stuffed if we try and apply that notion to deal with intruders.


Not at all. Every year or so there will be an incident where a UK householder has killed an intruder. Many of them are found upon investigation to involve reasonable and proportionate force against a serious threat, and no charges are brought. Obviously a stressful time for the poor bugger while the system grinds along, but the right outcome is usually reached.

If a case is prosecuted, that means that people at various decision-making stages have all felt that the force was grossly excessive or malicious, and that this can probably be proved to a jury. To get convicted, you need to be right out on the extreme fringe.
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Re: Does a Burglar consent (volenti non fit injuria)?

Postby Hairyloon » Fri Aug 15, 2014 11:18 pm

dls wrote:And also understand that a 1984 case predates all the current, and much more widely framed, terrorist offences.

Let us consider a less explosive scenario.
The householder has, for entirely reasonable and lawful reasons, a quantity of methanol stored in his shed.
For some reason he wants a smaller quantity in a more convenient bottle and the bottle which comes to hand formerly contained vodka. He decants some into the bottle, labels it as toxic and leaves it on the shelf.
Subsequently a burglar breaks into the shed and spies the vodka bottle full of a colourless volatile alcoholic spirit which he assumes is vodka. He pops it in his swag bag for later...
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Re: Does a Burglar consent (volenti non fit injuria)?

Postby atticus » Sat Aug 16, 2014 6:37 am

That is theft.
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Re: Does a Burglar consent (volenti non fit injuria)?

Postby Hairyloon » Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:37 am

Of course, but if he takes it home and shares it with his mates and they all die, should the householder expect any repercussions?
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Re: Does a Burglar consent (volenti non fit injuria)?

Postby atticus » Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:01 am

Bunch of blokes found dead of alcohol poisoning, with bottle labelled "toxic".

Hardly one for Jonathan Creek, is it.
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