Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by Ceicei, Jun 10, 2009.
I'm still trying to understand the British view of self defense. :idunno:
I think if Tez were here she would tell you that being arrested is not the same as being charged.
I would not have expected the police to do anything else, especially with injuries (aka actual bodily harm) arising from the incident.
It may indeed go to court but I'd be surprised if any of those attacked went to gaol.
It's starting to sound like the French view on war..."surrender early, and often".
After reading the article I suppose it makes sense. Sounds like it was nearly a mob scene and while logic would dictate that those with wooden planks were aggressors you'd haul everyone in at the very least for questioning. As Mark said, though, Irene is our resident expert on matters of policing in the UK and I'll be looking for her input.
I think here we're less likely to arrest (as opposed to just taking down info.) in such a case--if it seems they won't be charged, one doesn't usually arrest. The LEOs can detain someone until evidence of their identity is presented. So, maybe being arrested sounds like a bigger deal here than over there!
Ok, that makes sense. I think my confusion came from the way the article was written. (Perhaps more than likely, this is resulting from my preconceived bias against the laws of United Kingdom when I read it. My apologies.) Arnisador is right, semantics with the words "arrested" and "being detained" may differ. I think here in USA, charges have to be presented when arrested and then wait in jail. It is more typical being temporarily detained until situation is sorted out to determine whether any charges are needed.
Ok, a big mob fighting, police arrive separate them, call for an ambulance to take injured away. Who started fight, who hit who and a few other pertinant questions have to be answered so all those involved are arrested and taken down the nick.Remember unlikely though it may seem you have to take into consideration that the golfers may have attacked the gang who had been annoying them, you can't take it for granted that because they are 'respectable' golfers and the others are a suspected gang that it was all the 'gangs fault' well not if you are a decent officer anyway, you have to be fair. It may not seem to be but it is.
Once at the police station, identities can be checked, statements made. the tangle can start to be unwound.
These people were arrested on suspicion of GBH and ABH which are both serious offences, they were arrested under common law (incidentally anyone could have arrested them it didn't need to be a police officer) to allow prompt and speedy investigaton and to prevent disappearance ( probably not the golfers but the gang) remember the police wouldn't know who is who. The police had reasonable grounds for suspicion and also needed to prevent further violence.
These people weren't detained, merely arrested which basically just means 'please accompany me to the police station' only as a statement not a question! they then would be released on their own recognisance or police bail after making statements.
If there are any charges made these will be decided by the Crown Prosecution Service not the police as these are serious crimes. If however anyone has confessed then the police can charge them, they can also charge people for lesser crimes but the serious ones go to the CPS In England and Wales, in Scotland it's the Procurator Fiscal that decides.
The law on self defence here states that you are allowed to reasonably defend yourself and you may make the first move if you are in fear of your life. What the CPS have to decide is what was reasonable here. It may turn out that a gang member was struck to the ground then hit repeatedly while on the floor or kicked even. There's also the issue of weapons being involved. It all has to be investigated and not taken on face value, the law would be useless if we didn't investigate as everyone is deemed innocent until proven guilty even the towrags.
Being arrested isn't a big deal here, we can arrest a stroppy drunk here, put him in the cells for the night then release him with no charge in the morning when he's sober and somewhat shamefaced.
If there are no charges there is no record kept of arrests.
Oh and if they are still in custody it means it's taking a while to get through the statements and/or someone is giving the police grief which could be any or all of them!
Btw, it would work the same way over here. Police officers are not allowed to take anything at face value in cases like that, and they are definitely not allowed to decide on guilt or facts. In a case like this, everyone would be hauled off to the police station, and held for questioning which can take anything from a couple of hours up to 2 weeks, depending on a gazillion factors (complexity of the case, flight risk, cooperation, seriousness of the case, etc...). This would be called 'arrest on suspicion of...'.
We can safely assume that what is in the newspaper is slanted one way or the other. If there is so much confusion about who was doing what to whom, then it is perfectly logical to take everybody in. It is the investigative judge (lit) who decides what to do and whom to charge after the results of the interviews and investigations.
For all we know, the gang could have been hanging around annoying people, and some snobby rich prats decided to have a go at their 'inferiors' with their clubs, and the gang picked up whatever they could grab to fend off their attackers. The police wont know one way or the other without investigation.
That's exactly how it happens here. Police turn up to a melee and who knows whats going on other than a bunch of people fighting and some are injured. The first priorities are to stop the fighting and get help for the wounded. If you were merely defending yourself being nabbed by the police may seem unfair but as I said being arrested just means you are being taken down to the police station and if all you were doing is defending yourself you go quietly, co-operate with the police and you'll be released. If the golfers were defending themselves, their statements will show as much and as long as they used reasonable force no problem at all. As I said they were arrested on suspicion by the police which is entirely valid. There is a limited time police can hold suspects so they won't be detained indefinitely.
British self defence laws are liberal and open, I don't understand why people find them to be restrictive, as long as you use reasonable force you won't be charged. there's no saying you can't kill someone if they attack you with deadly force, it just has to be reasonable. If someone throws a pebble at you , you can't kill them for it, if someone is coming at you with a blade of a gun and you manage to kill them, you won't be charged. Arrested yes but not charged.
It's a myth that you can't defend yourself here. I know there was a high profile case here where a man killed a burglar and was imprisoned for it but we've covered that on MT before. The papers made a great deal about it but most didn't chose to print the whole facts, that the man Tony Martin had illegal weapons ( he wasn't allowed a shotgun licence because of his violent behaviour, had threatened to kill a number of people including his own brother and had lured the burglars to the house with the intent to shoot them, which he did, in the back as they had left his property. Hardly a case of an Englishman defending his castle. No other person has ever been imprisoned for purely defending himself or his family, it's a myth brought into being by media who have a certain agenda to follow.
The key difference is that, in the US, an officer cannot arrest a person "on suspicion" and just because they were involved, then take them to the stationhouse to sort it out. We need probable cause to take a person into custody -- facts and evidence which would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the person more likely than not did commit the alleged offense. We can DETAIN someone on reasonable suspicion -- but not arrest them. There's limited ability to transport someone who's merely detained to a different location, and it usually has to be directly related to confirming or dispelling the suspicion (like conducting a show-up identification).
This difference in arrest authority seems to underlie a lot of misunderstandings about news articles...
Yes, exactly! I have a clearer understanding now.
Over here "Have you ever been arrested?" is a not uncommon job application question. It shouldn't be on such forms, as a rule, but a Google search qill quickly turn up examples where it is (e.g., this fire dept.'s application).
Thats never asked here as it's not relevant, the question here will be "have you ever been convicted of any crime".
If you been arrested and then de arrested there is no record kept so it won't matter.
Exactly. It is also worth mentioning that being arrested doesn't carry that negative connotation over here, and noone asks about whether you have ever been arrested. Being arrested simply means that you were -involved- in something, and there is the -possibility- of being in the wrong.
Police are not allowed to decide on such matters on the spot except in the most simple of cases.
I am pretty sure that some of my friends have been arrested at one point or the other. Noone cares.
The big question here is whether you were ever convicted of something. That may or may not come up.
quoted for truth!
So apparently the British definition of "arrest" is similar to the American definition of "detain".
In USA, being arrested means being charged with a crime. Now whether the charge is pressed is up to the State prosecutors. If the prosecutors decide to go through, then the results of the charge may turn into a conviction or an acquittal. Maybe the LEOs here can explain the USA legal process better.
Being formally charged comes afterwards after an investigative judge has made a decision. The arrest is separate from it, and can last up to 2 weeks max. After that they either have to charge you or let you go.
This is the process and chain of events in Virginia; there are differences, but most states are fairly similar. It's important to remember that the US Constitution, in the Fourth Amendment, requires that no warrant of arrest issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.
An officer responds to the scene of an event, and determines that a crime was committed. (Alternatively, the officer could come across the offender driving, or whatever...)
He has the suspect in front of him, and takes the suspect into custody. The officer then takes the suspect "forthwith" before a magistrate, a neutral and uninvolved judicial officer, whose job is to assess whether or not probable cause exists to support the arrest. In the case of some minor offenses, the officer can issue the charges on the scene, and release the suspect on their written promise to appear in court, or a summons. In those cases -- the first court hearing is also a probable cause hearing. The idea is that it spares someone the problems of being taken to jail at all, especially for a non-jailable offense.
Another alternative is to obtain the warrant before making the arrest. This is common in serious offenses or where the offender isn't found at the scene. In that case, the officer/detective goes before the magistrate, and, after being duly sworn, gives a statement of probable cause to the magistrate. If issued, the warrant commands the arrest of the accused, and may require custodial arrest or permit release on a written promise to appear.
From there, we get into the court process. In a felony offense, there are actually two more points where probable cause is assessed, and, if found to be lacking, the case ends. These are the preliminary hearing and grand jury.123
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