I had thought for a number of years now how useless our justice system is. We are led to believe that it is the best in the World. Never. I know from my own experience how a question can be worded in such a way as to get the answer required. Rather like a conjuror who suggests you take any card on offer as they thrust a deck of cards in a fan in front of you. You always take the one they want you to take. Answer "Yes" or "No". If the question that follows doesn't have a simple answer so to be accurate, the answer you give may be totally opposite to what you want to say. You can't do that and the misleading situation can only get worse. This is how I felt when I found myself on trial for causing the death of an intruder who threatened my family. They call it murder. I was defending myself and my family from someone who had no right to be in my house. I trained in a martial art and I know how to use force effectively. Not lethal force, but effective force.
"Are you trained in a martial art that uses the application of force?"
"Yes" I answered.
"Did you apply that force when you found the deceased on your property?"
This wasn't described accurately as the intruder was roaming around my house in the dead of night.
"When I felt treatened," I began.
"Answer the question I asked."
I know he was only doing his job, though I detested this man. He wasn't interested in justice only in getting a conviction at any cost. Bolstering his reputation at my expense. Getting paid.
I could have had no idea how dangerous this intruder might have been or even if he had a weapon. When the torch light hit my eyes I was momentarily blinded and he had used that moment to attack me though I sensed the image coming at me. I know it's a "he" now, but at the time I didn't and had to assume it was a man. I could feel the breeze from an open window. He must have opened that from the inside as they cannot be opened from outside and I had a fleeting thought of wondering how he may have broken in. All the external doors are checked every night. I am almost paranoid about that. I responded as a reflex action and struck him hard. Very hard as he was moving towards me and onto my strike.
"You are trained in the application of force. Are you aware of the effect of using such force?"
"I had no idea..."
"Are you aware of the effect? Yes or no."
"You were in a position to use less force, but you used maximum force," the barrister asked rhetorically.
"I had no idea..."
I was told to be quiet as no further question had been asked that required an answer. I was going to explain that you can't use a test reaction to see how effective that may be then use more or less force if needed. You might only get one chance and if that first response isn't enough then it's too late. These clever and wise legal people, the judges and the barristers, from the safe places that they lead their lives have no concept of the reality that exists for the rest of us. I was alone and the lives of myself and family were under a severe threat with only me between their safety and real danger. I had to act. I had no choice. I didn't invite this threat into my house.
Justice. What justice? In my own mind I had found myself innocent and that is what matters to me. I am alive and in the wrong place. I languish in prison now for something I did that was a natural response to a situation and I never did find out how the intruder had broken into my house. He was no longer able to say and nobody felt the need to let me know. Perhaps the great British justice would have me dead and the intruder walking the streets. Would this be a better outcome? Certainly not for me.
© Louis Brothnias (2005)