Licence to kill? Murder and self-defence: exploring the Tony Martin case
"The Tony Martin case, in which an English farmer was convicted of murder for
killing a nocturnal burglar, sparked a national, on-going debate about the
extent to which householders may use force in self-defence. Exodus 22:2–3,which permits a householder to kill a burglar who breaks in at night, was favourably cited in the national press. This paper asks whether the householder should have a licence to kill the nocturnal burglar, and argues that one purpose of Exodus 22:2–3 is to provide a conclusive, objective test of when a householder may kill without incurring the vengeance of the 'avenger of blood'. In spite of its specific social and legal context, Exodus 22:2–3 highlights several important principles which should inform law-making in this area today."
Author: Jonathan Burnside (2002)
Reproduced with kind permission from the Cambridge Papers