Self defence – Reasonable force
What is reasonable force? If someone approached you on the street and asked you for the time in a menacing way would you be justified to kick them in the crown jewels? (As we say in England)
My wife says yes but she has always had a warped sense of humour.
Reasonable force as the Law Dictionary states is the level of power that is necessary used against another person that is appropriate to protect yourself, family members or property. In extremely dangerous situations, killing the attacker may be justified.
Let’s look at a scenario, you hear an intruder breaking into your home do you confront him? Do you take a weapon to confront him? When you spot him you glance down and you see he is holding a large knife. Do you plan to use the weapon in your hand before you confront him? What is your weapon is it a baseball bat or gun or do you have a large knife too? Is he in your Childs bedroom? How many of them are there? These are some of the many questions you will have to ask yourself in a split second which does not give you much time to formulate a plan of action.
A part of the law states you should act instinctively meaning that if you believe your life is in danger and you club him with a bat this would be justified, however if you club him he is dazed and he drops the knife then escapes out of the window and you chase down the road catch up to him and you keep clubbing him and kill him then you would have a more difficult time claiming self defence.
We have to go back to what the interpretation is of is reasonable force and how it is applied.
There was a well known court case of a well trained martial artist who was confronted by two assailants when it went to court and CCTV evidence was produced it looked like the martial artist struck the two guys first. After it was slowed down you could see one of the assailants’s clenched fist and it was on its way to swing at him. It was just a fraction of a second and to the untrained eye it would be missed. Fortunately there was a high ranking karate judge on the jury who was used to judging Karate competition fighting and a miscarriage of justice was averted. Had it been a baker on the jury he may have not been so lucky. No disrespect to bakers as the speed at which they make and eat those buns is incredible. Please don’t ask me how they make the holes in the doughnuts you don’t want to know.
Anyway back to the serious matter in hand. There is no easy answer to what is reasonable and justifiable force when trying to protect yourself, family members or property as there could be too many mitigating circumstances and each case is judged and based on its own merits.
There is a saying, ‘’It’s better to be judged by 12 than to be carried by 6’’
For me I would go with the above saying and work out the logistics later.