Back & Forth to Justice.

Well it’s been a strange week or so in the world of criminal justice. Once again we’ve seen a major Lib-Con policy rolled into a ball and tossed out of the backdoor, the most recent example being the frankly ludicrous notion of shortened sentences for guilty pleas being abandoned. Had the motion been greeted with less ridicule, we may well have witnessed a future in which the criminal fraternity would have even less reason to fear being the captured than they currently do, which is not much to talk about to begin with. It was therefore with some satisfaction to hear the Justice Secretary come out with today’s soundbite on the right of home owners to self defence in the case of burglaries.

Now stressing that this is a soundbite is important, because it is most certainly that. Little in what the Justice Secretary came out with is new or particularly different from the existing legislation, and at a time when Ken Clarke is having a barrage of fingers pointed at him from all sides, there is no better time to come out with a line that will be lapped up by the corner of the media that he will most rely on for his survival. Yet, there is something timely about the words that were released, regardless of how substantial or otherwise they might have been.

With the guilty plea proposals, this government was essentially saying ‘we don’t care too much about the rights and wrongs of justice, but we do want to make sure the prison service isn’t too busy this year’, not good enough. Today offered an indication that the government is actually on the side of the victims. Of course, there are problems with what has been said regarding the legalities of defending the home against unwanted intruders. Is this statement a free licence to ‘take down’ unwanted visitors? When, when immobilising someone invading your home, is someone immobilised ‘enough’, to the point when they can never walk again, never wake up? Hard to say from today’s statement. What has, to some extent, been made clear, is that the right to protect the home from criminals, is reaffirmed and supported by the current regime.

For the most part, a lot of the politics in this blog are fairly left in their inclination. However, when it comes to the home, the position of this column is probably firmly rooted in the right. Forget what the motivation is for Ken Clarke saying what he has done on self defence, the importance of reaffirming the basic right for a home owner to be able to protect their home and family, without facing prosecution for injuring the cretins who take it upon themselves to threaten people’s homes, and those inside. You haven’t got much right this week Ken Clarke, but there is a glimmer of hope here.  

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