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 Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 10:10 GMT
MP calls self-defence laws unclear
Burglar breaking into a house
MP: People are unsure if they can forcibly stop a burglar
A Norfolk MP has said people are not sure what they are allowed to do to protect themselves and their property from burglars.

Henry Bellingham, a Conservative representing north west Norfolk, told the Commons the law should be made clear.

He said: "If lawyers, safe in their offices, can't work out what is right how can the householder be expected to weigh up the pros and cons in the middle of a violent struggle in the dark?

People who believe they or their family are in imminent danger are allowed to use "reasonable force" to defend themselves but cases are examined individually and a decision to prosecute is based upon the circumstances.

One of Mr Bellingham's constituents is farmer Tony Martin, who was jailed for shooting dead a teenage burglar.

Martin was jailed for life in 2000 for murder after killing 16-year-old Fred Barras at his remote farm in Emneth Hungate in1999.

His sentence and conviction were reduced to five years for manslaughter last year, and he will appear before a parole board on Thursday.


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07 Jan 03 | England
23 Dec 02 | England
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