Director of Public Prosecutions v Bayer, Hart, Snook, and Whistance: Admn 4 Nov 2003

The defendants protested the growing of genetically modified crops. The prosecutor appealed dismissal of charges of aggravated trespass for them having entered a crop and attached themselves to tractors. The district judge decided they had genuine fears for the surrounding area, and had not acted unlawfully.
Held: Where a defence of lawful justification is put forward the court must first determine as a matter of law whether the defence is available. In this case it was not. The district judge had confused the lawful of private property. He should have asked ‘Are the defendants contending that they used reasonable force in order to defend property from actual or imminent damage which constituted or would constitute an unlawful or criminal act?’
Lord Justice Brooke Mr Justice Silber
[2003] EWHC 2567 (Admin), Times 07-Nov-2003
Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
England and Wales
CitedHanway v Boultbee 30-Nov-1830
A person may use a proportionate degree of force to defend himself, or others, from attack or the threat of imminent attack, or to defend his property or the property of others in the same circumstances. . .
CitedRegina v Rose 1847
A person may use proportionate force to defend himself. . .
CitedEvans v Hughes QBD 1972
The Court considered that for a defendant to justify his possession of a metal bar on a public highway he had to show that there was an imminent particular threat affecting the particular circumstances in which the weapon was carried. . .
CitedTaylor v Mucklow QBD 1973
The court upheld a decision of magistrates who considered that a building owner was deploying an unreasonable use of force in equipping himself with a loaded airgun against a builder who was demolishing a new extension because his bills were unpaid. . .
CitedAttorney-General’s Reference (No 2 of 1983) CACD 3-Feb-1984
The defendant, a shop-keeper, found his shop to be in the middle of serious rioting. His shop had been damaged badly and he suffered looting. Fearing further attacks he stayed in his shop, making 10 petrol bombs for protection.
Held: A . .
CitedRegina v Renouf CACD 1986
The defendant had used his car to chase some people who had assaulted him and had so manoeuvred his car as to prevent their escape. The statutory defence in the 1967 Act (‘a person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances . . in . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 08 April 2021; Ref: scu.187468