'Householders have the right to see off burglars'
HOUSEHOLDERS who are confronted by intruders in their home will have the law on their side, the new Justice Secretary will say today.
Chris Grayling will unveil plans to ensure even people who over-react when faced by burglars will get greater protection and avoid prosecution.
It comes after Britain's most senior judge reinforced the idea that a person's home is their castle, saying furious householders have the right to get rid of burglars in their homes and were not expected to remain calm when confronted by intruders.
In his first Tory Party conference speech as Justice Secretary, Mr Grayling will also reinforce his no-nonsense approach by saying all community sentences should be tougher.
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"Being confronted by an intruder in your home is terrifying, and the public should be in no doubt the law is on their side," Mr Grayling will say. "That is why I am strengthening the current law.
"Householders who act instinctively and honestly in self defence are victims of crime and should be treated that way.
"We need to dispel doubts in this area once and for all."
The Justice Secretary plans to change the law to ensure any frightened householder who is confronted by a burglar and uses force that is reasonable in the circumstances but in the cold light of day seems disproportionate will not be guilty of an offence.
Force which is "grossly disproportionate" will still be against the law, but this is a higher bar than the current law which says force must always be proportionate.
But primary legislation will be needed before the changes can come into force and no specific parliamentary time for this has yet been set.
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, said last month that burglary was an offence against the person and stressed that householders have the right to use force "to get rid of the burglar".
Others making speeches to conference today include Home Secretary Theresa May, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.