I Guess This Time He Couldn’t Claim the Gun Went Off “Accidentally”

British expat Phil B. emails a couple of interesting links. First up:

A government minister has issued an impassioned defence of two of his constituents, saying they should not be prosecuted for shooting two suspected burglars who allegedly broke into their remote farm cottage.

Once again, the weapon involved was a shotgun, but this time Mr. Andy Ferrie cannot claim before the court that the gun discharged by accident. That defense worked for Kenneth Batchelor, but he fired only one shot. Mr. Ferrie fired two rounds, and hit two of the four burglars invading his home.

Mr. Batchelor had unlocked his gun cabinet, retrieved his shotgun, unlocked the ammo cabinet, loaded his shotgun, pointed the shotgun at one Matthew Clements, a 41 year-old 280-lb. professional bouncer, who had climbed up a construction scaffold outside Mr. Batchelor’s home and climbed in a bedroom window, verbally threatening violence.  But the actual discharge of the shotgun was accidental. Mr. Batchelor had to claim the shooting was an accident, because otherwise he could be convicted of murder in the death of Mr. Clements.  Clements was “known to police,” and had reportedly threatened a garage manager with an Uzi sub-machine gun. But under English law, according to the humorously named lawyer Harry Potter as once explained to murder defendant Brett Osborne,

The law does not require the intention to kill for a prosecution for murder to succeed. All that is required is an intention to cause serious bodily harm. That intention can be fleeting and momentary. But if it is there in any form at all for just a second – that is, if the blow you struck was deliberate rather than accidental – you can be guilty of murder and spend the rest of your life in prison.

Deliberately shooting not one, but two burglars indicates “an intention to cause serious bodily harm.”

As it should.

Since the burglars struck by Mr. Ferrie’s shotgun blasts did not die, he stands accused of “GBH” – Grievous Bodily Harm.

The Ferries have been burglarized several times previously. RTW story. Very interesting.

And then we have the flip-side, another case of “Only Ones” acting as only they can:

A policeman shouted ‘sweet as’ moments after his colleague gunned down a suspect, an inquiry heard yesterday.

Azelle Rodney, 24, died instantly when he was shot six times in a busy high street.

The rounds were fired from the open window of a patrol car within a split second of it pulling alongside the VW Golf carrying Rodney.

The firearms officer – known only as E7 – was sitting in the front seat and let off eight shots after police in another car had forced the Golf to slow down.

Six hits out of eight shots! Perhaps the NYPD should send their officers to England to learn how to shoot?  Or at least do drive-bys?

Now, in this case the shooting victim died, but the officer involved was not charged with homicide, even though the victim turned out not to have a firearm within reach. Why? Because according to British law, what the officer believed at the time is more important than reality. See the case of Harry Stanley, shot to death by police officers when they thought the table leg he was carrying wrapped in a plastic bag was a sawed-off shotgun. In the case of Mr. Rodney, police believed

that Rodney and the two men with him had machine guns and were on their way to rob Colombian drug dealers.

You’ll note that “E7” didn’t have to wait until the car pulled alongside to unlock his gun case, take out his gun, unlock the ammo box, and then load his gun before discharging eight rounds into the VW Golf.

No, “E7” is sprinkled with the magic fairy-dust of a government paycheck.  Mr. Ferrie provides that fairy-dust.

Good luck to Mr. Ferrie – and his wife, who was also arrested on the same charges.  Even if they’re acquitted, he’s going to have a hell of a legal bill.  And they probably won’t have enough money left over to get the hell out of England for Australia as they had planned.

I’m betting that they’ll plead guilty to some reduced charges to save themselves money – but they’ll always have a record.

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