Have a go murder charge dropped

Omari Roberts, aged 23, had been charged with the murder of a 17 year old burglar and of assaulting a 14 year old boy during the burglary of his mother's home in Nottingham in March 2009 but has now learnt that all charges are to be dropped.

'Not guilty' of murder for protecting property - any one looking for a further example of how the present law stands in relation to the use of reasonable force to defend oneself against an attacker or attackers will find this useful.  The Crown Prosecution Service have now taken the decision to drop all charges against Mr Roberts and this has resulted in a formal direction by the judge at Nottingham Crown Court that Mr Roberts be formally found not guilty to the charges.

The decision came about following a fresh interview with the 14 year old accomplice over his account of the incident.  Apparently the boy had been stabbed in the knee in a fight with Mr Roberts in the kitchen of the house in question.

The boy had originally claimed that he had been pursued by Omari Roberts when he fled the house.  At the time the CPS considered this significant as it raised the issue that Mr Roberts appeared to have had time to call the police but chose to pursue the boy.  The boy however changed his account and admitted that he had been waiting for his accomplice outside the house and this tended to support the view that the boy had fought with Mr Roberts but there had not been any pursuit. Some of you may remember the case of Munir Hussain and the problem this posed prosecutors. Munir Hussain who was convicted of a serious assault on one of the men who had attacked his home and family and which resulted in a 30 month prison sentence (later reduced by the Court of Appeal to 12 months suspended for two years with a supervision requirement for the two years).

The incident took place at Omari's mother's home when he returned home from work at lunch time for something to eat.  He had been confronted by the boy and he then grabbed a kitchen knife to defend himself from attack from the 14 year old boy.  The result of which was that the boy was stabbed in the knee and fled from the property.

The 17 year old youth had been upstairs ransacking a room but came down to confront Mr Roberts. The two fought and the teenager was stabbed in the shoulder, as a result of which a major artery was severed and the teenager later died.

Jerome Lynch QC, the defence barrister was reported as informing the court: "The basis on which this case is being dropped at the 11th hour is a matter of public interest. It's clear that the prosecution's case has always been predicated on the reliability of this (boy).

"In our submission that was never a realistic approach. They relied on what he was saying, the veracity of what he was saying, and in our submission that was a flawed and erroneous approach."

Mr Roberts' solicitor Jonathan Eppley said after the case: "Omari was put in a position in which he was fighting for his life.

"He had no option but to defend himself - everything happened in a split second, he'd just returned to his mum's house for a little bite to eat and found himself in a terrible position."

We should not forget that someone has lost their life but hopefully this case may serve to help in the debate about how such cases should be dealt with.

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