The Tony Martin affair

My only comment on this sad case is one that I have not heard elsewhere. The current legal position says that, when faced with the threat of an unknown person, with unknown intentions and unknown weaponry who has broken into his house, the household has a split second to make a decision that will later be disected at length by the finest legal minds in the country. If they find fault, bad luck, go directly to jail.

The aviation industry has long recognised that a pilot must often make finely judged decisions in split seconds which may not be the best that a team of experts could come with given hours of analysis and deliberation. Those decisions are still the best available to the pilot at the time and they are perhaps as good as or better than anything that a lawyer could have down at the time.

Why then do we put a householder trying to defend himself in a position where his decision must be legally perfect while keeping himself alive while faced with a potentially gun toting criminal?

On average, most people would get such decisions wrong. Is a life sentence a fair punishment for having the same human weakness as the rest of us? Is the law right to insist that we must make such perfect decisions at times of such stress?

Note, I do not argue that it is right to kill a burglar, merely that it is not a great crime to make a misjudgement in a crucial and never before encountered situation.

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