Letter: Justice in the dock: the fallibility of juries, self-defence, and trial by media

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Sir: Joseph Elliott of Streatham, London, walked free after admitting killing Robert Osborne simply because the jury was not instructed to do what was 'just' but what was 'legal' ('Killer of 'good neighbour' cleared', 14 July). Technically, Mr Elliott could have acted in 'self-defence' as 'legally' defined, but on the basis of the facts as reported in the press, it seems that 'natural justice' must be on Mr Osborne's side.

The law on self-defence is, and has always been, suspect. I fear for the safety now of Mr Osborne's wife and family - as I fear for that of my own family - in a society where killers can roam freely, without let or hindrance, and where a violent criminal cannot be apprehended violently. Can a police killer now claim self-defence because a constable had his truncheon out?

Yours faithfully,

MICHAEL RICHARD

London, W6

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