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Oct 28, 2012

83 year old defends home; police warn on ‘reasonable use of force’

The homeowners. PIC: Rose Brennan Source: The Courier-Mail

The chronology:
  • Dropkick breaks into home
  • 83-year-old owner and 76 Y O wife present
  • Both have black belts in martial arts
  • Dropkick badly injured, flees
  • Police warn on ‘reasonable use of force
  • We probably have some reason for concern as to whether the homeowners who put the invader to flight with serious injuries, might themselves be charged: 

POLICE are trying to find a home invader who was badly hurt when he tried to force his way past an 83-year-old black belt home owner last night.  The home invader, a muscular man in his thirties who may be linked to other burglaries, broke into the high-set home in Gilruth Rd, Kenmore at about 8.30pm. … 
... When the couple - who both have black belts in the Japanese art of Aikido - realised there was an intruder in the house Mr Dowdy grabbed a knife from the lounge room he had kept for security and went to confront the burglar and warn him he was armed. 
He said he confronted the intruder and told him he had a knife, but the man tried to push past him and ran onto the blade. 
The injured burglar - who was bleeding heavily from a knife wound to his stomach - took two of Mrs Dowdy's handbags and ran onto the balcony and jumped to the ground.A large amount of blood was visible there this morning. … 
… Police have warned homeowners that while they have a right to defend themselves from intruders only "reasonable" force should be used.  "Our advice is that people should avoid confronting anybody it's not my advice that people should arm themselves and confront anyone in a house," Detective Inspector for Brisbane West Robert Hitch said. 
"People have a right to take action to defend their own person, to defend their dwelling and to defend other people. The force that they use must be reasonable and must fit the circumstances, it must be considered in relation to the threat that they're facing," Det Insp Hitch said. 
Det Insp Hitch said police were unsure how seriously injured the intruder may be and said they are investigating how he was hurt.  Blood was found inside the house and a trail of blood was found in streets around the home. 
"The owner of the home has been interviewed.... the reality is we don't know what injuries have been caused, we don't know who the injuries have been caused to. We have insufficient evidence in relation to what sort of actions have taken place in the house," Det Insp Hitch said.
So, we have ‘a muscular man in his thirties’ targeting an elderly couple and gets injured when they fight back.  They would have had reason to believe that their lives were in danger.  It is doubtful whether anybody other than the police and a few ambulance-chasing lawyers care very much what happened to this dropkick.  Homeowners should not be required to provide thieves with a safe workplace.
Police need to understand: (a) whose side they are on, and (b) while they might be unionized this is not something to have a demarcation dispute about.

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