View Poll Results: has self defence gone too far in this instance?

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  • The defendant was guilty but should not have been imprisoned.

    3 7.89%
  • Defendant should be found innocent

    31 81.58%
  • Defendant was guilty and prison was the right result

    3 7.89%
  • Other

    1 2.63%
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Thread: When does self-defence go too far?

  1. #41
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    Re: When does self-defence go too far?

    Quote Originally Posted by PzKfW IVe View Post
    Nothing different than if you missed the first time.
    You have every right to kill someone that it trying to kill you.
    Once it is clear they have been incapacitated, as may be the case here, you no longer have that right.

    I agree and thats the point, who gets to say its "clear" and how to they determine it?

    I if thier goal was to kill me as long as they are in my house and alive it isnt clear Im safe until they are dead.

    Again I know the law is grey and disagrees but thats my issue, I think they law is wrong, I person breaking into my house to kill me should get any protection while in my house just cause he failed.
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    Re: When does self-defence go too far?

    It's hard to know the full story. Maybe the gang members entered and were then dissuaded. Did they beg for their lives? Did some of them try to leave? What kind of dialogue took place? Did any of them have second thoughts when faced with lethal consequences?

    I don't think the man should be sent to jail for defending himself, but karmically speaking what he did was not a good thing. At the moment of death all humans are the same... we are faced with the unknowns. He will have to live with the knowledge that he sent these men to their deaths, for the rest of his life. Even if he feels justified, he will remember.

    I hope for his sake that he has no conscience.

  3. #43
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    Re: When does self-defence go too far?

    Quote Originally Posted by Temporal View Post
    It's hard to know the full story. Maybe the gang members entered and were then dissuaded. Did they beg for their lives? Did some of them try to leave? What kind of dialogue took place? Did any of them have second thoughts when faced with lethal consequences?

    I don't think the man should be sent to jail for defending himself, but karmically speaking what he did was not a good thing. At the moment of death all humans are the same... we are faced with the unknowns. He will have to live with the knowledge that he sent these men to their deaths, for the rest of his life. Even if he feels justified, he will remember.

    I hope for his sake that he has no conscience.
    If it was me and I knew that i acted justly, meaning in my mind I never crossed the line of defense vs aggressor my conscience whouldnt be effected, id be proud I saved me and me family.

    Id feel bad for thier families who have to deal with the loss but my conscience would be free and clear.
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  4. #44
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    Re: When does self-defence go too far?

    Quote Originally Posted by justabubba View Post
    his mistake was having an axe and allowing the intruder to survive to subsequently bring a suit as an aggrieved party
    Yep. In america its in your best interests that if you have to use deadly force then you better kill otherwise you often face civil and criminal lawsuits.
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  5. #45
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    Re: When does self-defence go too far?

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Chaos View Post
    Here's a story making local headlines in my region.


    Personally, I think 6 guys going round to another man's house get what they deserve if they underestimate the victim's ability to defend himself and I also think the 5 year jail sentence served on Bowman was a joke.
    This is actually very similar to what would happen in the US in most jurisdictions. The key issue is when, precisely, the attacker ceases to be a threat. As this is a question of fact, it would be determined by a jury. The standard a jury is meant to use in such a context is whether or not a reasonable person would consider themselves to be under threat of deadly assault (subjectively), and whether or not the person was, in fact, under such threat (objectively). If the answer is yes, the defendant/victim has the right to respond with deadly force. If, as the jury concluded in this case, the attacker no longer posed a deadly threat, and the victim/defendant continues to attack with deadly force, he is committing assault, and possibly attempted murder. This makes sense if you think about it. Here's a simpler example:

    An armed, would-be robber breaks into my house and threatens me with a gun. I shoot him while he's pointing the gun at me. That's self defense. By contrast, say I knock the gun out of his hand, then knock him to the ground. Then I shoot him. That's not self defense, it's murder. It may seem just to some people, but the law cannot and does not support what amounts to individual citizens carrying out a death sentence on a would-be robber without benefit of a trial, etc. Apparently that's the situation with Mr. Axe Man.

    A lot of people on this thread have been talking a lot about adrenaline, and how difficult it is to make a split second decision about such things, but that's exactly the sort of information a jury should (and probably would) take into consideration when weighing the actions of the defendant. Obviously we don't know everything about this case, but if the jury reached the conclusion that Axe dude was no longer under threat of deadly assault (and more importantly, that a reasonable person would not, under the circumstances, have perceived themselves to be under such a threat), they're presumably basing this on the evidence put forth at trial. This is the way the system is supposed to work. It's not perfect, it's certainly not simple, but it's better than any alternative I'm aware of.

  6. #46
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    Re: When does self-defence go too far?

    Quote Originally Posted by Centrist77 View Post

    I if thier goal was to kill me as long as they are in my house and alive it isnt clear Im safe until they are dead.
    Sure it is. Or at least it might be. For example (and I don't know if something like this happened in this case) what if your attacker is bleeding on the floor from two or three axe wounds, and no longer has full use of his arms? At that point, I think you can reasonably conclude that you're safe. What if the attacker's unconscious?

  7. #47
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    Re: When does self-defence go too far?

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Chaos View Post
    Here's a story making local headlines in my region.


    Personally, I think 6 guys going round to another man's house get what they deserve if they underestimate the victim's ability to defend himself and I also think the 5 year jail sentence served on Bowman was a joke.
    How can you ask us this question when you're leaving out all the details we would need to derive an answer?

    Edit:
    Oh look at this...
    ....Witnesses heard “sickening thuds” as the axe blows connected, leaving Hall with horrific and life-threatening injuries, which included a fractured skull, as well as a broken arm and fingers.
    So the homeowner kept going after the threat stopped.

    A firearm is so much more civilized.
    Last edited by Jerry; 06-23-11 at 07:19 PM.

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    Re: When does self-defence go too far?

    Quote Originally Posted by scourge99 View Post
    Yep. In america its in your best interests that if you have to use deadly force then you better kill otherwise you often face civil and criminal lawsuits.
    That's another good reason to use a firearm over a melee weapon. The first axe swing (deadly force) was justified. Had he pulled a trigger instead of swung an axe, he could have killed the perp and it would have been legal. His mistake was disabling the threat instead of just killing him outright.

  9. #49
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    Re: When does self-defence go too far?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry View Post
    That's another good reason to use a firearm over a melee weapon. The first axe swing (deadly force) was justified. Had he pulled a trigger instead of swung an axe, he could have killed the perp and it would have been legal. His mistake was disabling the threat instead of just killing him outright.
    I'm not a huge fan of guns in general (for reasons of practicality, mostly - I think a lot of people have an inflated belief in their ability to use guns effectively in situations like this one) but you're right - if Axe man had used a gun and killed the guy, he wouldn't be going to prison.

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    Re: When does self-defence go too far?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    OK, here is the thing. Six guys breaking into the house do deserve what they get. I am wasting zero pity on them. However, continuing to attack them after they where no longer a threat does make you guilty of a crime, as you have gone beyond self defense. Now I do have some pity for Bowman. He probably, once the adrenalin was flowing, not thinking absolutely clearly. Unfortunately for him, that does not absolve him if he continued to attack once the threat was gone.

    Now, to be clear, I was not there, I don't know for sure what was in his mind, nor do I see the situation, so it is really impossible to judge for me this particular case. Going by the provided information and the fact that a jury was convinced, I suspect he did go too far. The jury convicting is key to me, as juries will tend to side with a homeowner in such a case, but that still is just a guess on my part.
    I couldn't agree more. Obviously we need to ban assault'axes. Does anyone know if thus guy perchesed this axe from a licensed dealer, or did he use an axe-show loophole? This is just another example of why only the military, police and fire department need access to axes. Perhaps we can make some exceptions for hunting'axes, but you should still have to store your axe at the police department or hunting club.

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