I asked Professor Malcolm to respond to Tim Lambert's remarks.  I am forwarding her comments below.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, August 01, 2004 8:07 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: [inbox] Self-defence in Britain

Dear Clayton,

           Thanks for sending me the debate with Lambert and your refutation.  Of course I never "doctored" anything.  To begin with  the entire section in which the comments I cited are found is labeled "The Necessity for Defence."  The first sentence reads: "The defence of private defence resembles that of preventing crime in the twin requirements that the act must be immediately necessary...and proportional to the harm feared." p. 503.  He then goes on to say that the requirement of reasonableness "is unhappy."  He cites Holmes about how detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife.  He notes the requirement in England is now stated in such mitigated terms...."  Self-defence seems the main subject, not reasonableness because in fact the issue of reasonableness is still the touchstone.  But it is the expectation, unlike that in Holmes, that great precision is expected in self-defence, and  such expected precision is, in fact, unreasonable under extreme circumstances.  It is the requirement of reasonableness in self-defence and self defence has been thereby narrowed.

On Shannon I was not quoting, but paraphraising, to provide a concise example and brief description of the case.  I did not use quotation marks although I suppose setting the example apart might, accidently, have made that seem the case.  But I summarized the example accurately.  

Note, on the subject of William's intent in his comment on self-defence as I presented it, he adds immediately after the discussion of the Shannon case, p. 507, "For some reason that is not clear, the courts occasionally seem to regard the scandal of the killing of a robber (or of a person who is feared to be a robber) as of greater moment than the safety of the robber's victim in respect of his person and property...The jury's verdict in Shannon is a standing warning to all defenders of the legal danger of killing an adversary, even in self-defence."  All of this seems to me to make it clear that it is self-defence that, in Williams' view, no longer seems to be allowed in practice.

         Hope this helps.


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