Frightened householders who over-react when confronted by burglars will get more protection under Government plans, the new Justice Secretary will say today.
Chris Grayling plans to change the law to ensure even householders who use force in a way that may seem disproportionate in the cold light of day will be protected from prosecution.
It comes after Britain's most senior judge reinforced the notion that a person's home is their castle, saying furious householders have the right to get rid of burglars in their homes and are not expected to remain calm when confronted by intruders.
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Case For Rights Against Burglars
Updated: 10:00am UK, Tuesday 09 October 2012
Victims rights campaigners have over the past decade called for householders to be given more protection against burglars.
A change in the Criminal Justice Act in 2008 stated that homeowners who used "reasonable force" to protect themselves against intruders should not be prosecuted, as long as they use no more force than is absolutely necessary.
The move by the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to set the bar higher for householders who confront burglars comes amid high-profile cases of people taking the law into their own hands to protect their property.
In 1999, the Norfolk farmer Tony Martin shot dead 16-year-old burglar Fred Barras after he broke into Martin's home. Martin had used an illegal weapon. He was released on appeal in 2003 after being found guilty of manslaughter.
In 2008, businessman and community leader Munir Hussain attacked a burglar with a cricket bat at his Buckinghamshire
home. He was given 30 months in jail, while his brother Tokeer Hussain was given 39 months for also taking part in the attack. Munir successfully appealed and was released after a year behind bars.
In 2010, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dropped the charges against an apprentice builder from Nottingham for the alleged murder of a teenager. Omari Roberts caught a 17-year-old ransacking his mother's home along with a 14-year-old.
In the same year, celebrity Myleene Klaas was warned by Hertfordshire Police after she waved a knife from her kitchen at teenagers who had entered her garden and were peering through her window. She was told she should not have used the knife to warn them off - even in her own home.
In September 2012, Andy and Tracey Ferrie were arrested for causing grievous bodily harm when they shot two intruders at their house in Leicestershire with a legally-held weapon. The couple were released without charge, the CPS saying it would take no action.
During the height of the riots in England in August 2011, traders and residents came together to protect their property. In Southall, west London, hundreds of Sikh men stood guard outside their place of worship and patrolled the streets.
In Birmingham, Haroon Jahan and brothers Shazad Ali and Abdul Musavir died after being hit by a car while trying to protect shops and homes from looters.