Government lawyers trying to keep Norfolk farmer Tony Martin, who shot two burglars in his home four years ago, behind bars have told a High Court judge that the burglars are members of the public who must be protected from violent householders, according to The Independent.
The case could help hundreds of criminals bring claims for damages for injury suffered while committing crimes.
In legal papers, Home Office lawyers dispute Martin's contention that he poses no risk to the public because he only represents a threat to burglars and other criminals who trespass on his property, according to The Independent.
The lawyers wrote, "The suggestion... that the Parole Board was not required to assess the risk posed by Mr. Martin to future burglars or intruders (on the grounds that they do not form part of the public at large) is remarkable.
"It cannot possibly be suggested that members of the public cease to be so whilst committing criminal offenses, and whilst society naturally condemns, and punishes such persons judicially, it cannot possibly condone their (unlawful) murder or injury."
Martin was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering 16-year-old Fred Barras at Martin's Norfolk farmhouse in August 1999, but his conviction was later reduced to manslaughter by the Court of Appeal, and Martin was given a five-year prison sentence.
An Edmonton, Canada, man who was shot while robbing an audio/video store will not be charged with burglary, while the owner of the store faces aggravated assault and firearms charges.
Michael Herbert Hamilton, wounded while attempting to pilfer a plasma-screen television, was offered a deal by the police that would allow him to go free if he merely admitted to being the one who had robbed Audio 5.1 in Edmonton.
"Police located a man suffering from a gunshot wound but, based on his story, were unable to determine whether his injury and the break-in were connected in any way," police information officer Annette Bidniak told The Edmonton Journal.
"In order to gain a concrete lead in the case, a decision was made at the command level not to charge him with the break-in if he came clean."
Although Edmonton police hadn't the will to investigate the break-in at Audio 5.1, they acquired search warrants enough to search the burglarized store twice for weapons; they found a .38-caliber revolver and a .22-caliber rifle.
Bidniak said police are still trying to determine whether a second person helped the storeowner protect his goods from the thief and an accomplice.
It is unclear, however, if the police are trying to find Hamilton's accomplice, who helped him back a stolen truck into the storefront in an attempt to steal the TV.