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Fix Self Defence Law

Fix Self Defence Law

ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks urged changes to fix the law of self defence rather than limiting the individual right to prosecute alleged wrongdoers, even in the Police.

"Repeated Government kite-flying, and comments the Police would not have made without encouragement, suggest the Government is planning to limit a long-standing freedom to prosecute official wrongdoing.

"Sir Robert Peel, who established the first modern police force, was adamant the police should not have special privileges or immunities and therefore were not above the law. They were just doing full-time what any decent citizen could do part-time if his or her community needed it. This principle is a very important protection against police corruption.

"Our current law of self defence is the same whether you are a police officer facing a violent thug in the course of duty, or a householder protecting your family from a criminal intruder. Without encouraging a lynch mentality, both the police officer and the householder are serving their community as well as themselves, if successful in self-defence.

"Neither a police officer nor a householder should have to carefully calibrate their response to a threat in a way that leaves the initiative with the aggressor. Even offenders will be better off under a law that does not mislead them into thinking they have all the cards, that their victim, whether police or citizen, is obliged to cower or run away.

"The Government would serve all New Zealanders better if they focus on strengthening our laws of self defence, instead of curtailing a fundamental safeguard - the right to prosecute wrongdoers, even if a powerful elite would rather protect them," Mr Franks said.

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