The decision of the jury on the Padraig Nally case has no doubt thrown the cat among the pigeons on different aspects of current Irish law regarding the right to defend yourself.

To summarise the case for those of you unfamiliar with it, as best as I can. Padraig Nally found a member of the travelling community (gypsy in other countries) allegedly attempting to break into his farmhouse. He then got his shotgun and fired a shot at the victim (John “Frog” Ward). He wounded the victim, and then reloaded and followed the victim and shot him again, in the back when he was lying on the ground. Padraig Nally was accused of murder, acquitted of this and found guilty of manslaughter. This was overturned on appeal. He was then retried for manslaughter, and yesterday acquitted.

Now, we are faced with the following questions:

Where does the line between defending oneself, and your home, and committing a crime (assault etc.) be drawn?

Are members of the travelling community right to now feel threatened if they visit someone’s home?

Are they right to feel, as they seem to, that a traveller’s life is worth less than anyone else’s?

I don’t feel that a traveller’s life is worth less than anyone else’s. I do feel that any result other than a conviction for Padraig Nally would not appease the travelling community, who have a propensity to feel eternally sorry for themselves and hard done by.

But to sum up, the Irish government will have to look a the legislation regarding defending your property before another situation such as the Nally incident occurs!

~ by knightfall on December 15, 2006.

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