Nunavut man has murder convictions overturned in self defence case

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http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/01/31/chris-bishop/

Just an interesting article I was reading, though I am sure some of you may find it contentious

The Facts:
-A feud between young men resulted in a dispute at the house of the accused
-Accused called police
-The people he was feuding with, of which there were 5, broke into his house with weapons
-He retreated to his bedroom, where he readied his legal semi-auto rifle
-he swapped out the 5 round mag for an illegal 25 round mag
-When they broke into his bedroom he opened fire, and chased them as they retreated, killing 3 of them outside and leaving 2 wounded

That is just a summary, and you will have a better understanding if you read the article.

I agree with the appeal judges who overturned his murder charges. Even though he pursued his attackers, I do not have much sympathy for them as they has broken onto private property with the intent to harm.

what do you think?

It should be noted that the appellate court ordered a new trial where the issue of self-defense can be used as a plausible defense.

More to come when I have more time.

"An eyewitness said Mr. Bishop spotted a wounded invader falling in the snow and struggling to get up. Mr. Bishop raised his gun and fired at him, killing him."
That is murder, he had defended his home successfully when they were running away, what this guy did is a straight up execution. I think he was right in shooting up till the point they left the house running and screaming.

Xan Krieger:
"An eyewitness said Mr. Bishop spotted a wounded invader falling in the snow and struggling to get up. Mr. Bishop raised his gun and fired at him, killing him."
That is murder, he had defended his home successfully when they were running away, what this guy did is a straight up execution. I think he was right in shooting up till the point they left the house running and screaming.

Their lives were forfeit the moment they broke into his home with weapons. The only tragedy in this case is that he didn't get all five of them.

I disagree.

Let me just quote the respective paragraphs, Canadian Criminal Code, Sections 34-37:

34. (1) Every one who is unlawfully assaulted without having provoked the assault is justified in repelling force by force if the force he uses is not intended to cause death or grievous bodily harm and is no more than is necessary to enable him to defend himself.

(2) Every one who is unlawfully assaulted and who causes death or grievous bodily harm in repelling the assault is justified if
(a) he causes it under reasonable apprehension of death or grievous bodily harm from the violence with which the assault was originally made or with which the assailant pursues his purposes; and
(b) he believes, on reasonable grounds, that he cannot otherwise preserve himself from death or grievous bodily harm.

35. Every one who has without justification assaulted another but did not commence the assault with intent to cause death or grievous bodily harm, or has without justification provoked an assault on himself by another, may justify the use of force subsequent to the assault if
(a) he uses the force
(i) under reasonable apprehension of death or grievous bodily harm from the violence of the person whom he has assaulted or provoked, and
(ii) in the belief, on reasonable grounds, that it is necessary in order to preserve himself from death or grievous bodily harm;
( b) he did not, at any time before the necessity of preserving himself from death or grievous bodily harm arose, endeavour to cause death or grievous bodily harm; and
(c) he declined further conflict and quitted or retreated from it as far as it was feasible to do so before the necessity of preserving himself from death or grievous bodily harm arose.

36. Provocation includes, for the purposes of sections 34 and 35, provocation by blows, words or gestures.

37. (1) Every one is justified in using force to defend himself or any one under his protection from assault, if he uses no more force than is necessary to prevent the assault or the repetition of it.
(2) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to justify the wilful infliction of any hurt or mischief that is excessive, having regard to the nature of the assault that the force used was intended to prevent.

Please note 37. If they were fleeing they were no threat anymore, thus chasing and shooting at them with intent to kill is far more than "necessary to prevent the assault".
Now he could argue that under 34,2b he had reason to believe that the attackers would return with deadlier force and threaten his life again but I'd say that's for the judges to consider.

Kopikatsu:

Xan Krieger:
"An eyewitness said Mr. Bishop spotted a wounded invader falling in the snow and struggling to get up. Mr. Bishop raised his gun and fired at him, killing him."
That is murder, he had defended his home successfully when they were running away, what this guy did is a straight up execution. I think he was right in shooting up till the point they left the house running and screaming.

Their lives were forfeit the moment they broke into his home with weapons. The only tragedy in this case is that he didn't get all five of them.

An eye for an eye, eh? Or rather five eyes for a possible one.

Kopikatsu:

Their lives were forfeit the moment they broke into his home with weapons. The only tragedy in this case is that he didn't get all five of them.

Oh yeah he should have hunted them back to their homes skinned them alive and burned their house's down.

Its only fair.

Champthrax:
http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/01/31/chris-bishop/

Just an interesting article I was reading, though I am sure some of you may find it contentious

The Facts:
-A feud between young men resulted in a dispute at the house of the accused
-Accused called police
-The people he was feuding with, of which there were 5, broke into his house with weapons
-He retreated to his bedroom, where he readied his legal semi-auto rifle
-he swapped out the 5 round mag for an illegal 25 round mag
-When they broke into his bedroom he opened fire, and chased them as they retreated, killing 3 of them outside and leaving 2 wounded

That is just a summary, and you will have a better understanding if you read the article.

I agree with the appeal judges who overturned his murder charges. Even though he pursued his attackers, I do not have much sympathy for them as they has broken onto private property with the intent to harm.

what do you think?

The fact he chased them down and kept on shooting makes him a murderer. They were no threat to him anymore at that point. They deserved some fancy jail time for their crimes, not the death penalty.

Quaxar:

An eye for an eye, eh? Or rather five eyes for a possible one.

They broke into his house with what could very easily be considered deadly weapons; and the fact that they broke down his bedroom door (where he could not retreat further) very strongly implies that they planned on using deadly force.

Each was there to see him dead, and so it's an eye for an eye x5, as opposed to an eye for five eyes. Similar but fundamentally different. An eye for five eyes would be if one man tried to kill him, and he responded by killing that man, and then going to his house and butchering four members of his family.

Knight Templar:

Kopikatsu:

Their lives were forfeit the moment they broke into his home with weapons. The only tragedy in this case is that he didn't get all five of them.

Oh yeah he should have hunted them back to their homes skinned them alive and burned their house's down.

Its only fair.

See above. Once you decide to take someone elses life, then you become fair game yourself. (This doesn't count for retaliation, obviously, as we don't put state-sanctioned executioners to death for preforming their job for example.)

Hmmm...I think where I live this wouldn't be murder, but would still be a serious crime. I think it's demoted to manslaughter if you defend yourself excessively like that, which makes sense to me.

Kopikatsu:

Xan Krieger:
"An eyewitness said Mr. Bishop spotted a wounded invader falling in the snow and struggling to get up. Mr. Bishop raised his gun and fired at him, killing him."
That is murder, he had defended his home successfully when they were running away, what this guy did is a straight up execution. I think he was right in shooting up till the point they left the house running and screaming.

Their lives were forfeit the moment they broke into his home with weapons. The only tragedy in this case is that he didn't get all five of them.

Actually, no, even in "stand your ground" states, shooting someone who's running away is murder. At the point they decide to turn and run, you're not allowed to kill them legally anymore.

I'm not surprised to see such rhetoric, though, as much as it saddens me and makes me think it's all about a power trip more than it is about "defending" anything.

Kopikatsu:

They broke into his house with what could very easily be considered deadly weapons; and the fact that they broke down his bedroom door (where he could not retreat further) very strongly implies that they planned on using deadly force.

Each was there to see him dead, and so it's an eye for an eye x5, as opposed to an eye for five eyes. Similar but fundamentally different. An eye for five eyes would be if one man tried to kill him, and he responded by killing that man, and then going to his house and butchering four members of his family.

You are making a very big assumption when you claim they were there to kill him. Maybe they just wanted to give him a good beating for whatever reason. And even if they would be there to kill them the fact remains they posed no threat to him anymore and an eye for an eye is very prehistoric. Most of the civilized world doesn't even put people who killed others to the death row. So let alone for trying to do it. Which is basically what happened here. The guy went full vigilante and decided an attempted homicide was worth the execution.

He's obviously as dangerous to society as those guys were.

What's even funnier is if soldiers would do that on the battlefield with their enemies they'd get court martialled. If such a behavior is even considered a crime for soldiers in a warzone why the fuck would it be ok for a civilian to do it?

Kopikatsu:

Quaxar:

An eye for an eye, eh? Or rather five eyes for a possible one.

They broke into his house with what could very easily be considered deadly weapons; and the fact that they broke down his bedroom door (where he could not retreat further) very strongly implies that they planned on using deadly force.

Each was there to see him dead, and so it's an eye for an eye x5, as opposed to an eye for five eyes. Similar but fundamentally different. An eye for five eyes would be if one man tried to kill him, and he responded by killing that man, and then going to his house and butchering four members of his family.

Firstly, breaking down a door is no implication for deadly force. They could very well also have been there to collect a big gambling debt or simply beat him to teach him a lesson. Just because someone uses force to enter is no intent to kill.
But this is just theory anyway, I don't dispute that he felt his life in danger and I wouldn't disagree with a self-defensive kill right there. Now the fact is that these people were fleeing as soon as he opened fire and he had to actively chase them down to inflict that harm so he was in no way in direct threat by them anymore, which means he wasn't defending his life anymore. So this is clearly not a kill in self-defense.

Kopikatsu:

Once you decide to take someone elses life, then you become fair game yourself.

Exactly he should go find these still living men and do all the things I suggested.

They don't deserve to live anymore right?

The man is a cold blooded murderer. He didn't wait to see what was going on or even to see what would deter them, but immediatly opened fire. Not just that, but then he chased them and murdered people that were already wounded. Not just that, but with hints of him initiating the violence, because he'd assaulted one of his victims and was boasting he had murdered people before and that his victim 'was going to pay'.

That judge had better been drunk or on drugs when he declared you could claim self-defense in such a case. What's next US judges? Adam Lanza wasn't guilty of anything because he was defending himself against getting bad grades?

Kopikatsu:
Their lives were forfeit the moment they broke into his home with weapons. The only tragedy in this case is that he didn't get all five of them.

You quite clearly have no clue about violence and don't value human lives outside of your own if you say something terrible like that.

Vegosiux:

Kopikatsu:

Xan Krieger:
"An eyewitness said Mr. Bishop spotted a wounded invader falling in the snow and struggling to get up. Mr. Bishop raised his gun and fired at him, killing him."
That is murder, he had defended his home successfully when they were running away, what this guy did is a straight up execution. I think he was right in shooting up till the point they left the house running and screaming.

Their lives were forfeit the moment they broke into his home with weapons. The only tragedy in this case is that he didn't get all five of them.

Actually, no, even in "stand your ground" states, shooting someone who's running away is murder. At the point they decide to turn and run, you're not allowed to kill them legally anymore.

I'm not surprised to see such rhetoric, though, as much as it saddens me and makes me think it's all about a power trip more than it is about "defending" anything.

This happened in Canada. Canada's self-defense law is, essentially, "You can use any force you deem necessary to remove the burglar from the property and eliminate the threat to yourself.". The five that broke into his home had a history of violence and home invasion (and he knew this prior to the incident). Had he simply scared them off then, do you think they would have all sat down in their living room for a nice cup of joe and never hurt anyone (especially Chris Bishop) again? He removed the threat from himself, as was expected of him.

Quaxar:

Kopikatsu:

Quaxar:

An eye for an eye, eh? Or rather five eyes for a possible one.

They broke into his house with what could very easily be considered deadly weapons; and the fact that they broke down his bedroom door (where he could not retreat further) very strongly implies that they planned on using deadly force.

Each was there to see him dead, and so it's an eye for an eye x5, as opposed to an eye for five eyes. Similar but fundamentally different. An eye for five eyes would be if one man tried to kill him, and he responded by killing that man, and then going to his house and butchering four members of his family.

Firstly, breaking down a door is no implication for deadly force. They could very well also have been there to collect a big gambling debt or simply beat him to teach him a lesson. Just because someone uses force to enter is no intent to kill.
But this is just theory anyway, I don't dispute that he felt his life in danger and I wouldn't disagree with a self-defensive kill right there. Now the fact is that these people were fleeing as soon as he opened fire and he had to actively chase them down to inflict that harm so he was in no way in direct threat by them anymore, which means he wasn't defending his life anymore. So this is clearly not a kill in self-defense.

Yes, chasing someone into their bedroom and breaking down multiple doors on your way is what you do when you want to 'severely beat someone' with a sword. If that isn't an implication of deadly force, what is? Being non-fatally shot multiple times?

Blablahb:
You quite clearly have no clue about violence and don't value human lives outside of your own if you say something terrible like that.

Judging from your past comments, you'd say the right thing for Bishop to have done is to lay down and die quietly as not to be a bother, right?

generals3:

Kopikatsu:

They broke into his house with what could very easily be considered deadly weapons; and the fact that they broke down his bedroom door (where he could not retreat further) very strongly implies that they planned on using deadly force.

Each was there to see him dead, and so it's an eye for an eye x5, as opposed to an eye for five eyes. Similar but fundamentally different. An eye for five eyes would be if one man tried to kill him, and he responded by killing that man, and then going to his house and butchering four members of his family.

You are making a very big assumption when you claim they were there to kill him. Maybe they just wanted to give him a good beating for whatever reason. And even if they would be there to kill them the fact remains they posed no threat to him anymore and an eye for an eye is very prehistoric. Most of the civilized world doesn't even put people who killed others to the death row. So let alone for trying to do it. Which is basically what happened here. The guy went full vigilante and decided an attempted homicide was worth the execution.

He's obviously as dangerous to society as those guys were.

What's even funnier is if soldiers would do that on the battlefield with their enemies they'd get court martialled. If such a behavior is even considered a crime for soldiers in a warzone why the fuck would it be ok for a civilian to do it?

They broke into his house, hunted him down, and then broke down the door to his bedroom while armed with deadly weapons. The assumption that they were going to kill him is not a very big jump in logic.

Blablahb:
The man is a cold blooded murderer. He didn't wait to see what was going on or even to see what would deter them, but immediatly opened fire. Not just that, but then he chased them and murdered people that were already wounded. Not just that, but with hints of him initiating the violence, because he'd assaulted one of his victims and was boasting he had murdered people before and that his victim 'was going to pay'.

That judge had better been drunk or on drugs when he declared you could claim self-defense in such a case. What's next US judges? Adam Lanza wasn't guilty of anything because he was defending himself against getting bad grades?

Kopikatsu:
Their lives were forfeit the moment they broke into his home with weapons. The only tragedy in this case is that he didn't get all five of them.

You quite clearly have no clue about violence and don't value human lives outside of your own if you say something terrible like that.

Actually, this took place in Canada and it was a Canadian appellate court that ordered a new trial.

The five men who broke into his house were armed with melee weapons including a samurai sword. The appellate judges ruled that the trial judge erred by allowing the jury to hear evidence about the threats the accused made but did not allow similar testimony about the nature of the threats the dead men made. The shooter is still in jail and awaiting a new trial. There is a good chance that he will be convicted again on the murder charges.

Blablahb:
That judge had better been drunk or on drugs when he declared you could claim self-defense in such a case. What's next US judges? Adam Lanza wasn't guilty of anything because he was defending himself against getting bad grades?

It's Canada...
Also, as I've stated above his defense could argue with section 34, 2b or possibly 37, 1 for acting out of a reasonable fear of them returning with deadlier force. Not that I hope that could go through.

Kopikatsu:
Canada's self-defense law is, essentially, "You can use any force you deem necessary to remove the burglar from the property and eliminate the threat to yourself.".

Oh really? I have quoted the specific 3 sections from Canada's criminal law that deal with self-defense in my first post up there. Where does it say "do what you want"? All I read is excessive force and justification.

EDIT:

Kopikatsu:
Yes, chasing someone into their bedroom and breaking down multiple doors on your way is what you do when you want to 'severely beat someone' with a sword. If that isn't an implication of deadly force, what is? Being non-fatally shot multiple times?

Really enraged people and a sword for itimidation so the victim doesn't try anything.
Again, I am not saying there was no intend to kill, just that it is not necessarily 100% the intend in this situation. But anyway, this is not about using deadly force to avert danger to one self (which I wouldn't dispute at all), this man ran after them and shot them in the back, meaning there was clearly no longer a direct threat to his life. Thus, excessive force. QED.

Blablahb:
He didn't wait to see what was going on or even to see what would deter them, but immediatly opened fire.

What do you feel would have been the appropriate response when they had broken down the bedroom door?

I think it is easy to judge him when not in that situation, but when the adrenaline is running high, you are outnumbered and unsure whether you will survive, you don't really think, you just act.

Kopikatsu:

This happened in Canada. Canada's self-defense law is, essentially, "You can use any force you deem necessary to remove the burglar from the property and eliminate the threat to yourself.". The five that broke into his home had a history of violence and home invasion (and he knew this prior to the incident). Had he simply scared them off then, do you think they would have all sat down in their living room for a nice cup of joe and never hurt anyone (especially Chris Bishop) again? He removed the threat from himself, as was expected of him.

The problem is in how far do you want to take that "potential threat" defense. If they got away but were arrested and spent time in jail would he be justified in shooting them upon their release since they might have as well been plotting to get revenge once they got out?

Kopikatsu:

This happened in Canada. Canada's self-defense law is, essentially, "You can use any force you deem necessary to remove the burglar from the property and eliminate the threat to yourself.". The five that broke into his home had a history of violence and home invasion (and he knew this prior to the incident). Had he simply scared them off then, do you think they would have all sat down in their living room for a nice cup of joe and never hurt anyone (especially Chris Bishop) again? He removed the threat from himself, as was expected of him.

Okay, explain this to me, I'm obviously too stupid to understand:

How is someone that's running away from you, a direct threat to you?

Quaxar:
Also, as I've stated above his defense could argue with section 34, 2b or possibly 37, 1 for acting out of a reasonable fear of them returning with deadlier force. Not that I hope that could go through.

That's kind of surprising. So I guess the complaints I heard a few years ago from Canadians being Americanised had at least some truth to it... ^_^

Kopikatsu:
Judging from your past comments, you'd say the right thing for Bishop to have done is to lay down and die quietly as not to be a bother, right?

No, that would be the filhty lies that advocates of gun violence spread about me and anyone else who disagrees with random violence and murder.

I actually happen to know that if someone has a sword, and you get in their face, their weapon is useless because they have no room to swing it, and small spaces are the perfect place to face multiple attackers, so that if you quite simply pick up a chair and hold it in front of you, there could be an entire army coming for you without anything happening. Also table legs make lovely clubs. You can clean out a disco with them if you want, so I guess they can stop one goon in a door opening too.

I also happen to know that if you constantly pick fights with other people like the killer did, sooner or later a bunch is going to show up at your doorstep, whether you were right or wrong.

Vegosiux:
How is someone that's running away from you, a direct threat to you?

If they had escaped, they would've voted in favour of gun legislation! Also they were not true Christians. Or maybe homosexual. Or they voted democratic. Maybe they were communists too. Or wait, I know, they were black and in same neighbourhood.

Blablahb:

I actually happen to know that if someone has a sword, and you get in their face, their weapon is useless because they have no room to swing it, and small spaces are the perfect place to face multiple attackers, so that if you quite simply pick up a chair and hold it in front of you, there could be an entire army coming for you without anything happening. Also table legs make lovely clubs. You can clean out a disco with them if you want, so I guess they can stop one goon in a door opening too.

So at what point in your mind does he have the right to shoot them? They are already in his house with deadly weapons, and he is cornered in his bed room in a 5 against 1 situation. If they had opened the door and said "prepare to die" and advanced on him, would you then feel he could shoot them?

I am getting the feeling that you strongly detest guns, and that Bishop should have done just about everything, including taking a potentially life threatening beating, before resorting to a gun.

Blablahb:

I also happen to know that if you constantly pick fights with other people like the killer did, sooner or later a bunch is going to show up at your doorstep, whether you were right or wrong.

So he was asking for it? Geez this sounds like rape myth arguments just transferred over to self defense

thaluikhain:
Hmmm...I think where I live this wouldn't be murder, but would still be a serious crime. I think it's demoted to manslaughter if you defend yourself excessively like that, which makes sense to me.

Get 5 violent criminals to invade your home and then tell us about appropriate force, this is not a murder even if was done in vengeance it's manslaughter at most...

Okay, I'm back. What did I miss?

Xan Krieger:
"An eyewitness said Mr. Bishop spotted a wounded invader falling in the snow and struggling to get up. Mr. Bishop raised his gun and fired at him, killing him."
That is murder, he had defended his home successfully when they were running away, what this guy did is a straight up execution. I think he was right in shooting up till the point they left the house running and screaming.

Just got a call back from my pal Lucifer about being snowed in at his place. I guess it's safe to say I agree with everything Xan has said here.

... and my hand is trying to strangle my throat.

Kopikatsu:
This happened in Canada. Canada's self-defense law is, essentially, "You can use any force you deem necessary to remove the burglar from the property and eliminate the threat to yourself.". The five that broke into his home had a history of violence and home invasion (and he knew this prior to the incident). Had he simply scared them off then, do you think they would have all sat down in their living room for a nice cup of joe and never hurt anyone (especially Chris Bishop) again? He removed the threat from himself, as was expected of him.

Uh... no. As Quaxar noted before, this is Canadian Self-Defense law:

37. (1) Every one is justified in using force to defend himself or any one under his protection from assault, if he uses no more force than is necessary to prevent the assault or the repetition of it.
(2) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to justify the wilful infliction of any hurt or mischief that is excessive, having regard to the nature of the assault that the force used was intended to prevent.

Once a perpetrator is retreating, self-defense no longer applies as it is no longer necessary to continue to engage.

Champthrax:
So at what point in your mind does he have the right to shoot them? They are already in his house with deadly weapons, and he is cornered in his bed room in a 5 against 1 situation. If they had opened the door and said "prepare to die" and advanced on him, would you then feel he could shoot them?

Obviously that would make it more acceptable because he allowed time for them to change their minds, but highly suspect still, as he had picked fights with his victims before, and had purchased illegal magazines and had the time and calm to load with those, showing his intent was murder and not self-defense. Why on earth would you purchase guns, let alone illegal accesories for those, if you're not planning to get in a shooting with a lot of people?

Champthrax:
I am getting the feeling that you strongly detest guns, and that he should do just about everything including taking a potentially life threatening beating before resorting to one.

Doing everything else is nothing short of an absolute requirement before self-defense. There's so many situations that resolve themselves even at unexpected times, including the ones where angry people show up at your doorstep, and you'd be similarly amazed at how little harm people, well outside of crazy gun owners that is, are willing to actually inflict even if they mean harm.

That's why I'm so annoying to gun violence advocates: I know things about the nature and psychology of violence that they do not, so arguments like "But he's black and looked kinda suspicious, clearly that meant a threat to me!" fail on me.

An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind.

The man had the right to defend himself anyway.

generals3:
You are making a very big assumption when you claim they were there to kill him. Maybe they just wanted to give him a good beating for whatever reason. And even if they would be there to kill them the fact remains they posed no threat to him anymore

Could it not be argued that people who have attacked you in your own house, who therefore know where you live, are a continuing threat whether presently in the act of attacking or not? Especially if previously in that encounter you had been shooting at them, as people tend to resent that?

Seanchaidh:

generals3:
You are making a very big assumption when you claim they were there to kill him. Maybe they just wanted to give him a good beating for whatever reason. And even if they would be there to kill them the fact remains they posed no threat to him anymore

Could it not be argued that people who have attacked you in your own house, who therefore know where you live, are a continuing threat whether presently in the act of attacking or not? Especially if previously in that encounter you had been shooting at them, as people tend to resent that?

That is why the free world has a police force to ensure such people are arrested. Simply put the man knew who they were and would have shot at least one of them before they fled. All he had to do was call the police and state that these five had broken into his house armed with deadly weapons, hole up there until the police arrived, and since these are Canadian police and thus have a legal obligation to help people, would have quickly proven that he was acting in self-defense and arrested the other five men for unlawful entry and possible attempted-murder charges. And thanks to that helpful police force they would be able to prove that the man fired his gun from inside his own room, thus nullifying any argument made by the attackers that they weren't in the wrong.

I mean for fuck's sake Sean, what you're suggesting is that if anyone threatens you ever, you have the legal right to kill them at any point in time because they might eventually pose a threat to you again.

Anyway, I don't see people pointing out that the man in question had an illegal 25 round mag in his possession. What possible valid use could he have had for such a magazine size for a rifle? Self-defense would be better served by a handgun, and on top of his prior boasting of having shot people before it seems that he was looking for an excuse to kill someone.

Anyway, the man is a murderer, point blank. All he had to do was go to the police after they left and they would have been arrested. Instead, despite them no longer possing any risk to his life or property (on account of them running away screaming), he killed three of them by shooting them in the back. All of them were armed with either their fists, or a broken golf club and a sword, he had a gun. So long as he had enough distance (which wouldn't be very far) he had no threat to his life unless one of them was stupid enough to charge him. Thus, self-defense can't come into effect because there was no longer any direct threat to him.

EDIT: To make it more clear, by the time he killed three of them they were already far away from his property, about 40 metres or so. So by that point the threat to him and well and truly passed, because even if they turned around and charged him, he would have still had time before they could have possibly harmed him.

I can't believe I'm watching actual human beings, some of whom are probably adults, try to defend this guy's conduct.

Was he justified in firing a gun at his assailants?

It's impossible to tell without having access to the detailed evidence. While it is reasonable that he may have believed his attackers intended to kill him, he had them at an enormous disadvantage and almost certainly had other options. If he was unaware that they did not have guns and if he clearly gave them warning that he had a gun and would use it, then there may well be a reasonable case that firing the gun at them was a proportionate response. But given the other facts which we know about this case, I'm strongly skeptical of that.

Was he justified in opening fire on his retreating assailants?

No. At that point, the response is not proportionate. He is in no danger of dying or even being injured, and therefore there is no need for lethal force. He obviously knew who these people were and the police were already on their way. This is pretty much the stock example in legal texts of disproportionate force. Self-defense only works when you or someone else are under immediate personal threat.

Was he justified in deliberately shooting an injured and defenseless man?

No. Do I even need to say this? Fuck no.

If someone dies as a result of you using disproportionate force to defend yourself, it is not necessarily murder. If you're firing wildly in a blind panic, for example, then it could easily be ruled that (while your actions were still criminal) you had no intent to kill anyone.

If you willfully turn a gun at someone who you can see is on the ground, clearly injured and unable to defend themselves, that's no longer irresponsibly firing a gun, that's a calculated attempt to end that person's life. We're seriously getting into execution territory here. It's almost certainly murder, and in the incredible event that it's not it's still a serious crime. The circumstances leading up to that event do not matter. If I catch a man fucking my girlfriend I'm not suddenly allowed to intentionally blow his brains out because I'm really upset by that.

It strikes me from reading the article that this decision is being dressed up as something it's not (oh noes, a right wing newspaper is misrepresenting an issue, put up the fucking bat signal!) namely a debate about whether this conduct was correct. The actual issue here, the singular issue, is that the jury heard evidence regarding previous conduct of Mr. Bishop when it didn't actually have any bearing on the crime and might have prejudiced their decision. That information should never have been admitted to a court, the court is there to judge the circumstances of the crime, not which of the people involved were nice people.

That's a legitimate reason for a retrial, it doesn't mean he isn't just going to be found guilty again, which given his actions seems pretty much guaranteed unless he turns out to be insane.

ewww

This is a tough one. I think most people feel he is justified in defending himself in his home. My issue is that he was attacked by FIVE assailants. That he made it out at all is a minor miracle against those odds. 5 unarmed assailants can easily kill a single person, let alone armed ones.

Even if he didnt hunt them down, the odds that the police will put all 5 away are pretty damn low. At least if it was here in the US, the ringleader might go down for a long time but the others will either get a slap on the wrist for turning on his compatriots or a lawyer will find a loophole. Then you are back to being outnumbered by a group who is even more motivated to kill you AND will be better prepared.

The moment those 5 individuals broke into his house, the homeowners life was ruined. There is no scenario in which his life wont be ruined. If he let them go, they will come back or he will live in fear for the rest of his life. if he hunted them down, then he is guilty of at least manslaughter. damned if you do, damned if you dont.

I understand why the guy thought he had to kill him as this was a pretty extreme case, but for the good of society we can not condone it. Especially since people will use it as an excuse for vigilantism

Sorry, no, I can't get behind this. Once they were in retreat, that should have been it. They were not a threat anymore. No way a self defense claim should have stood in light of this.

That wasn't a murder, that was a damned execution. That's the kind of person who kicks someone when they're already down and I wouldn't be surprised if he'd incurred this attack from them in the first place as he is clearly a very aggressive man. We can't be taking the law into our own hands like this, you cannot become the judge, jury, and executioner. This man is a danger to society and should be put in prison, there's a difference between self defense and vigilantism.

The guy's a murderer, plain and simple. I don't believe he was just some blood thirsty monster getting thrills from spilling blood, but rather he was running off of fear and adrenaline. Still not an excuse, though. We are still capable of some rational thought in a state like that.

evilthecat:

Was he justified in firing a gun at his assailants?

It's impossible to tell without having access to the detailed evidence. While it is reasonable that he may have believed his attackers intended to kill him, he had them at an enormous disadvantage and almost certainly had other options.

If they were outside with some yardage, probably. A firearm is an equalizer, but not by that much. Having a firearm does not automatically trump being outnumbered 5 to 1 in a close quarter situation with your back against the wall. The other thing that saved his ass was they had to come through a choke point. I think if he had been lacking either one we would be reading a very different story right now. Even by duty to retreat doctrine he was in the right, initially at least.

If he was unaware that they did not have guns and if he clearly gave them warning that he had a gun and would use it, then there may well be a reasonable case that firing the gun at them was a proportionate response. But given the other facts which we know about this case, I'm strongly skeptical of that.

In a life or death situation, issuing a warning is one of those things that are nice to have, but not always practical. If it comes down to it, it's not unreasonable to assume a tacit understanding that the guy coming at me with a katana acknowledges that I may use lethal force as well to defend myself.

Pretty much how it should be.

Sucks for the people who got killed, but serves them right for ganging up on a single person.

Some judge, jury and executioner on the spot. I like it.

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