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Sri Lankan Law Forum » Criminal Law Forum » The right to defend Private Property

The right to defend Private Property

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1 The right to defend Private Property on Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:19 pm

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Sri Lankans' find they have stronger rights when their property becomes under attack by an intruder intending to steal. In this busy culture, a person's private property becomes a very important sanctuary for them and their families; many have worked hard to earn this space. Under Section 96 of the Penal Code it states there is no offence if when a defendant harms an intruder if he acts in 'good faith under colour of his office, though that act may not be strictly justifiable by law'. This code does not seem very instructive and allows the defendant to argue he was acting in 'good faith' to justify his actions, even if they were done maliciously with intent. It seems to give no boundaries to the amount of force used to prevent a robbery, thus, this could lead to criminal behavior becoming acceptable in Sri Lankan society.

In English law the 'plea of self defence' is found to be increasingly hard to be accepted. Under the Criminal Law Act 1967 s3.(1) a person can also use reasonable force to prevent the commission of a crime or effect or assist a lawful arrest of a person, this was later confirmed in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 which imposed an objective test about the amount of reasonable force used. Both laws seem to have faults with this offence. In 2000 the Conservative Party claimed that the law was unclear and suggested that it should be reformed so that householders would be allowed to use any force unless it was 'grossly disproportionate'. It will always be a controversial area of the law with everyone having contrasting opinions, however it is important to strike the balance between protecting both the victim's and the defendant's rights

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