Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Is South Africa ready for the Castle Doctrine?

With 50 murders a day, we do not have the luxury of debating the implementation of the “castle doctrine” law in South Africa.

Only liberals have time to deliberate such matters (read below).

The rest of us want our guns back, dammit – NOW! And the right to shoot first and ask questions later.

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In essence the “Castle Doctrine” rule is a common law that designates certain areas such as your home, car or work as places wherein you may use deadly force against unlawful intruders. How would this affect you?

In the ordinary course there are any number of factors which you must take into consideration before trying to kill people who break into your home.

If you simply see a trespasser and then shoot him or her, the law will ask you what other options were available to you other than killing the party concerned.

If you fall foul of this, you could be charged with murder or culpable homicide. In terms of this law, as I understand it, you are entitled to proceed straight to deadly force. This doctrine would constitute a grounds of justification which excludes unlawfulness as opposed to looking at a party’s mens rea (intention) at the time of the incident.

JS then goes on to say that while he is concerned with the levels of crime, he is more concerned about being incarcerated in his home than he is about being attacked by robbers and thieves. Accordingly this might afford him the opportunity of avoiding such an eventuality.

Obviously there are major pros and cons to introducing legislation along these lines. In the case of law abiding citizens, which you lot all are, it affords the opportunity of getting rid of intruders before they even get inside the house or dwelling. This will deter people climbing over your wall in the first place. Instead of hesitating when you see a burglar in your passage you could shoot first and ask questions later.

In addition, it will exclude the fear of the consequences that many feel they may face when defending themselves. This is in respect of both civil and criminal claims.

As opposed to this, we are always going to get some thugs who phone people, tell them to come over and then shoot them. Nice way to get rid of your girlfriend’s boyfriend, although I’m not for a minute suggesting that any of you lot would ever contemplate such a thing.

Maybe a creditor but certainly not a boyfriend… Obviously the English Law, and the American state by state adaptation thereof, can be studied by our legislators to try and overcome these kinks, if such a doctrine is to be introduced.

The question is, do we as South Africans feel that we are mature enough to entertain such legislation? That you will deem it necessary in this current climate of crime run wild I have no doubt.

Remember a South African’s home is full of Castle or something like that.

1 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

As it is it seems sheer luxury to ask some armed robbers that you happen to find in your house to please leave peacefully. If you and your family want to survive such an ordeal you have to take this criminals out. If you hesidate
your child or wife or yourself might be carried out there in a body bag. First rule is to survive.
After you prevailed you have time enough to do what you think is wise in such a situation.