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   Home      R v Martin [2002]
R v Martin [2002] 2 WLR 1 Court of Appeal

Tony Martin lived alone on an isolated farm called Bleak House. The farm and surrounding buildings were dilapidated and appeared to be derelict. Consequently the farm was subject to numerous break-ins. On the night of Aug 20th 1999 Freddie Barras (aged 16) and Brendan Fearon (aged 30) broke into the farm. Tony Martin armed with a 12 bore shot gun went downstairs and fired indiscriminately at where he thought the disturbance came from. He shot both the intruders killing Barras by a gunshot wound to the back. At his trial his plea of self defence was rejected by the jury and he was convicted of murder. He appealed on the grounds that his personality disorder should be taken into account in assessing whether he had used reasonable force for the purposes of self defence.


Whilst the personality disorder could not be considered for the purposes of self defence, it did amount to an abnormality of the mind which substantially impaired his mental responsibility for the killing. Since the psychiatric reports had not been considered by the jury his conviction for murder was quashed.
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