This news has been shared by number of newspapers today:
In short, Mr Hanson discovered Mr Savare in his home trying to steal his TV. A violent struggle ensued during which Mr Hanson was able to push Mr Savare out of his house and onto his patio. Mr Hanson locked the door to keep Mr Savare out. Mr Savare apparently stayed put on Mr Hanson’s patio. Mr Hanson went and got a knife and returned and stabbed Mr Savare over 50 times (30 times in his neck). Mr Savare died as a result and Mr Hanson was put on trial for murder. The jury was not asked to deliberate on the alternative charge of manslaughter. Mr Hanson claimed self-defence and the jury found him not guilty of murder on that basis.
The prosecution argued it was not self-defence because the actions were neither reasonable nor necessary:
'The prosecution say that his actions were in fact neither necessary to defend himself, as the intruder was by now outside the property, neither were they reasonable, and were therefore not done in lawful self-defence.'
The reports don’t say why that was rejected by the jury. However, the argument from the defence included the following:
In his closing speech Christopher Henley, QC, defending, said Mr Savare head-butted and punched Hanson.
'He has the presence of mind to open the patio door, Mr Savare's behaviour defies all rationality. We know from his previous convictions the relentlessness of his violence towards resistance.
'This is absolutely consistent with how he has behaved in the past.'
They also mention that Mr Hanson had acted instinctively. So, it could be that the following law applies:
Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 Section 76 (7)(b): that evidence of a person's having only done what the person honestly and instinctively thought was necessary for a legitimate purpose constitutes strong evidence that only reasonable action was taken by that person for that purpose.
Because the events happened on Mr Hanson’s property, it could also be that the events were not viewed as “householder case”? This would see “reasonable” defined as not “grossly disproportionate”.
Not all of the papers include the following information, but the International Business Times reports that:
“The News Shopper reported that the 51-year-old Hanson was a paranoid schizophrenic and had certain rituals that included cleaning up the street outside his home.”
If it is the case that Mr Hanson suffered from such things, then the fact cases are judged on the situation as a person honestly believed them to be, even is the belief was unreasonable and mistaken, could also have played a part?
We simply don’t know enough at the moment, but it is clear the jury did regard the actions to be self-defence where the actions were both reasonable and necessary as defined by law.
Hopefully more information will come out because this would seem to be an important case study when it comes to what UK law deems as reasonable force.
All the best,