I was talking with someone at my work a while back, a staff member who is also an American, we were talking about stories in the media about incidents of violence and he'd told me about a news cutting he had from home in which someone in his home state, Washington State, had faced charges relating to his shooting dead with a revolver someone who had jumped him and demanded his wallet, the judge had closed the case and deemed it justifiable homicide.
This seemed to me like a good indicator of cultural differences between the UK and US, given my knowledge of reasonable force. Here's a link to a good piece about reasonable force in the UK:
The Law on Using Reasonable Force - Protecting Yourself (UK)
One of the big factors I consider to be how subjective this is:
I think its necessarily so, being attacked is a subjective thing, someone could be a six foot body builder and yet a fairly meek person who would endure punishment rather than meet it out. On the other hand is a jury of peers likely to recognise that? That's were I think culture is important.In other words, did he really believe that the only way to prevent himself, or someone else, being harmed was to hurt the attacker?
This is a question that will have to be answered by the jury. In answering it the jury will take into account both the particular characteristics of the individual – such as their age, gender and relative strength – and the circumstances surrounding their actions. The jury will have to ask whether the average, reasonable person sharing the individual’s characteristics would have acted in the same way if they had been in that situation. However, if the individual suffers from a psychiatric condition which contributed to them acting in the way they did this cannot be used as an excuse and should not be taken into account.
Do you think there is a cultural difference on the topic of defensive violence between the UK and US? If you do which do you think is nearer to being correct?