Anorak News | The Wages Of Sin

The Wages Of Sin

by | 29th, July 2003

‘AN Englishman’s home, they say, is his castle – quite literally, one suspects, with many Telegraph readers.

‘God, is Tony Parsons still getting paid to write this rubbish?’

Which is no doubt why the paper has always been a valiant supporter of Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer who was jailed for shooting and killing a burglar on his premises.

So, while the other papers are all upset by the fact that the 58-year-old has sold his story to the Daily Mirror for a six-figure sum, the Telegraph doesn’t bat an eyelid.

Instead, it prepares to welcome new laws from Home Secretary David Blunkett to prevent burglars suing their victims.

Martin is currently being sued for £15,000 by Brendan Fearon, who claims he hasn’t been able to find work since being shot in the leg by Martin in 1999.

Given that Fearon is described as a 33-year-old career criminal, one can only assume that honour among thieves doesn’t run to disability benefit or equal opportunities employment.

And given that he not only managed to get himself shot but has also just finished a term in chokey, perhaps his incompetence as a criminal might be a better explanation for his lack of work.

However, even if the proposed new law were already on the statute books, it would not apply in this case.

The Telegraph says it is only relevant where the householder had acted ‘reasonably and proportionately in self-defence’, for instance in cases where burglars have sued after falling from a window or gashing their hand while breaking in.

Martin was found not to have acted reasonably or proportionately in the shooting of Fred Barras, which is why he was convicted first of murder, later reduced to manslaughter.

That is why papers like the Independent talk of an ‘uproar’ over the news that the Mirror has paid more than £100,000 for a convicted criminal’s story.

The PCC code bans newspapers from paying criminals ‘except where the material concerned ought to be published in the public interest’.

The paper says that whatever happens, the farmer is not likely to go short of money, with a soon-to-be-published book with the ‘less than charming’ working title, My Right To Kill.

Soon to be followed by the sequel, My Right To Cash In On My Notoriety…

Posted: 29th, July 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink