A man’s (mobile) home is his castle.
On 5 June 2016 Martin Keenan, a 20 year old resident of a caravan park in Dublin, came home to find two strangers in the bedroom of his mobile home. One of the intruders was an unarmed 33 year old, Wesley Mooney. There was a confrontation between the two men in which Mooney was stabbed with half of a pair of garden shears, sustaining fatal injuries. Keenan was charged with murder.
Keenan was tried in Ireland’s Central Criminal Court before Butler J and a jury. He relied on the Criminal Law (Defence and the Dwelling) Act 2011 (Ire.) §2(1) which states that –
it shall not be an offence for … a person who is a lawful occupant in a dwelling, to use force against another person … where … he or she believes the other person has entered … the dwelling as a trespasser for the purpose of committing a criminal act, and … the force used is only such as is reasonable in the circumstances as he … believes them to be … to protect himself … or another person present in the dwelling from injury, assault, detention or death caused by a criminal act
Butler J advised the jury that the 2011 Act had clarified that the homeowner was no longer obliged to retreat from confrontation.
The accused was acquitted by majority verdict.
DPP v Keenan (2018) Irish Times, 14 March 2018