||All England Reporter
|| All ER (D) 28 (Nov)
|| EWHC 2567 (Admin)
Brooke LJ and Silber J
||Francis Chamberlain (instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service) for the prosecution.
||Nerida Harford–Bell and Anya Lewis (instructed by Bindman and Partners) for the first, second and fourth defendant.
||The third defendant appeared in person.
||4 November 2003
Criminal law - Aggravated trespass - Interference with lawful activity - Meaning of 'lawful activity' - Crop destruction - Common law defence of lawful justification - Test to be applied.
Where the common law private defence of property was raised the court had first to ask itself whether the defendants were contending that they had used reasonable force in order to defend property from actual or imminent damage, which constituted or would constitute an unlawful or criminal act. If the answer to that was 'no' then the defence was not available. If the answer was 'yes' then the court had to go on to consider the facts as the defendants honestly believed them to be and then had to determine objectively whether the force that had been used was reasonable in all the circumstances.
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