John GleesonWinnipeg Sun (Canada)
Self-defense is no defense in Australia, said John Gleeson in the Winnipeg Sun. When hotel security guard Karen Brown, 44, was brutally attacked by a thief who bashed her face in with brass knuckles and stole the day’s $40,000 take, she fought back. “With blood pouring down her face,” her nose and eye socket broken, she got up, staggered toward the thief’s stolen car, and fired a single shot to his head, killing him. For this amazing act of courage and fortitude, Brown was charged with murder. Under Australian law, once an attacker has turned his back on you, anything you do to him is gratuitous, premeditated violence. So Brown’s lawyers were forced to argue that she “was not in control of her actions” when she killed her attacker. They said the trauma had made her react as an automaton. Call it the “I, Robot” defense. Fortunately, the Sydney jury bought it, and acquitted Brown after just four hours of deliberation. Yet if the accused had had less clever lawyers, she could easily have been sent to prison for life. The acquittal is “hardly a victory for those who wanted to see Brown’s act vindicated as a reasoned and reasonable response to a violent assault.”
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