A man from Pretoria North was outnumbered three to one when he was ambushed by robbers when he visited a friend in Pretoria North. Very shortly after the victim parked and before he could get out of his vehicle, three males quickly alighted from a sedan that unlawfully entered the property and stopped right behind the victim. They forced their way into the victim’s vehicle and attacked him whilst he was still inside the vehicle. The attackers also started to remove items from the victim’s vehicle. During this commotion, the victim’s friend walked out of his house and fired shots at the attackers. The attackers started to run away from the scene towards the street, jumped into in the sedan they arrived in and sped off. The victim’s friend followed the robbers into the street and fired in the direction of the fleeing robbers.
According to an article by the Pretoria Rekord, one of the robbers was shot three times.
Firearms Guardian’s expert in criminal law, Dr. Llewelyn Curlewis weighs in:
“The scenario mentioned is not an uncommon set of facts these days in South-Africa. It is, as far as I am concerned, a straightforward case of acting in “self-defense” (actually private defense), seeing that the owner of the property merely attempted to protect his own life and property, as well as those of others (being the passenger(s) in the bakkie). This is absolutely a perfect example of what the law will determine as a typical act which is considered to be lawful and therefore a proper defence against any possible criminal charges against the owner of the house and him presumably also being the owner of the gun. I encourage members of the public to do exactly the same when such a scenario takes place, on the assumption that they use their firearms in a responsible manner, having been properly trained in using it and obviously adhering to the parameters set by law when using it.
“Firearms Guardian would advise and encourage gun owners to always be alert, be prepared for sudden situations which requires spur of the moment drastic action and to know that the law will protect you if you act in a reasonable manner, even if you ultimately injure or kill a perpetrator as a result of relying on one of the well-established defenses ordinarily accepted in our law.”
A further question arises here:
Did the friend act lawfully when he shot at the attackers when they were fleeing from the scene?
Advocate Henk Nolte, a Director of Firearms Guardian explains:
“One of the requirements in a case of self-defence is that an attack on the victim must be imminent but not yet completed. In our current scenario, the attack on the victim stopped and was completed the moment when the attackers started to retract and flee the scene. There was therefore no longer a need for the victim or his friend to act in defence of their lives or property. The victim’s friend should therefore not have fired further shots at the attackers when they fled in the vehicle. Firearm owners must assess the situation very carefully in situations like this. Firing shots at a fleeing attacker might lead to successful prosecution. Self-defence is not a means of exercising vengeance or a form of punishment. For this reason, a firearm owner acts unlawfully if he uses his firearm against an attacker if the attack on him is already something of the past.”
What if this happens to you?
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