Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 25 November 2017

'Too much grey area around shooting intruders in self defence'

Solicitor Karen Walsh with Jer Bergin, IFA and Seamus Sherlock, ICSA chatting with Paul Williams on Rural Crime in the Independent Tent at the Ploughing in Screggan.
Solicitor Karen Walsh with Jer Bergin, IFA and Seamus Sherlock, ICSA chatting with Paul Williams on Rural Crime in the Independent Tent at the Ploughing in Screggan.
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

How far a farmer can go to defend themselves remains a grey area in law that needs to be addressed, according to top rural solicitor Karen Walsh.

The Irish Independent talk on rural crime with crime journalist Paul Williams heard that 60pc of farmers have been the victims of crime, with 40pc hit twice.

The findings from farming group ICSA also show that farmers are prepared to absorb costs of up to €1,600 rather than tell their insurances companies and see insurance premium hikes.

What is reasonable force?

Karen Walsh a solicitor who specialises in agricultural law said the area of how far farmers can go to defend themselves against an intruder.

"You can use reasonable force to defend your property but what reasonable force is not clear cut. It's a judge and jury deciding it."

She said the current legislation is putting farmers in a vulnerable position as it's unclear what reasonable force is.

"I would not want my father relying on that legislation."

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She said the key questions that would be looked at is if you honestly hold the belief that you were in danger; was the force you used excessive or reasonable in the circumstances and she warned that if it is found that you used more force that was reasonable then you would be found guilty of manslaughter."

Paul Williams asked what you should do if the the intruder has a shot gun and you shoot him. She advised that anyone in that situation should retreat and call the Gardai.


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