CRIME IN SOUTH AFRICA: WHEN YOU ARE ALLOWED TO SHOOT A HIJACKER OR INTRUDER

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When to Shoot:

It is noticed with great concern that there is general confusion over the issue of the public shooting and killing or wounding another person under differing circumstances. People have a responsibility to protect themselves in a situation where they need to discharge a firearm in the process of self-protection.

What exactly are the legal requirements of self-defense? The following points are important:

  • The attack must be unlawful.
  • The attack must be imminent or have commenced.
  • The attack must not have been completed. One cannot act on grounds of self-defense for an attack committed an hour earlier.
  • The defensive action must be directed against the attacker.
  • The defensive action must be proportionate to the circumstances. The value of property involved and the instrument used for attack are important considerations.
The test used by the court to determine the lawfulness of the defensive action is that of a reasonable man. The question to be asked is whether a reasonable man in the same position would have done the same thing.
In all cases where a person is killed, the matter is investigated to establish if anyone was responsible for the death. This is the point when people perceive they are being charged with murder by the police and believe they cannot defend themselves against an unlawful attack without being charged. If your action is within the principles of self-defense, there is nothing to worry about.