TTAG reader NorthernBrit brings us up to speed on the recent armed self-defense case in Leicestershire [UK]:
Don’t know if you caught this but the couple involved have been released, without charge. The left-leaning Guardian newspaper reports that “Andy Ferrie, 35, and his wife, Tracey, 43, were arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm after a legally-owned shotgun was fired during a break-in at their home in Welby, Leicestershire, in the early hours of Sunday. The Ferries were released on police bail as police announced that two men had been charged with burgling the property near Melton Mowbray . . .
In a statement released by the Crown Prosecution Service, Judith Walker, the chief crown prosecutor for the East Midlands, said: “Looking at the evidence, it is clear to me that Mr and Mrs Ferrie did what they believed was necessary to protect themselves, and their home, from intruders.” . . .
“The law is clear that anyone who acts in good faith, using reasonable force, doing what they honestly feel is necessary to protect themselves, their families or their property, will not be prosecuted for such action.”
Not a bad result by UK standards. Here’s an interesting and bold opinion piece from The Daily Mail. As you know, The Mail is at the opposite end of the political spectrum to the Guardian and the Mail’s circulation is vastly greater.
But when a burglar is not carrying a gun, the law seems to feel that use of one by the victim is a disproportionate response. Yet how is the householder, taken by surprise and in great fear, supposed to know?
For most people protecting themselves and their property, the question will not arise. There are around 862,000 licensed gun owners in the UK, or just under 1.5 per cent of the population.
That probably means in nearly 99 out of 100 houses, a burglar could break in and there is no chance of his being confronted by a shotgun-wielding householder . . .
A civilised country has to have a rule of law, and vigilante justice cannot be reconciled with that. But neither can people live in fear of increasingly organised and ruthless burglars, against whom the police are perceived to provide little or no protection . . .
The Home Secretary should introduce a bill as quickly as possible that stops householders being arrested, and thus coming to the attention of the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] in the first place.
Now, here’s the outcome reported in what passes for the local rag in my neck of the tundra, SW Scotland (The Daily Record):
Rutland and Melton MP Alan Duncan, a Government minister, said the real crime would be if the couple were prosecuted for defending their home . . .
Mr Duncan said he was delighted the couple would not face further action.
He said: “I stuck my neck out in defence of my constituents on Monday.
“I’m delighted the CPS has seen sense and has exonerated them. The law has worked and so has the system.
“The focus must be on the burglars and not the victims. My constituents can hold their heads high.”
He added: “I hope they can sleep happily and safely at home this evening.”
Mr Duncan said he had spoken to the police about the incident.
“I did speak to the police today and impressed on them that the law would look very silly if my constituents were ever charged or prosecuted.”
He said their shotgun licence should not be questioned by the police as a result of the incident.