Read the newspaper article and the letter in reply to it. Who do you agree with – the judge or the writer of the letter?
A judge ordered an 82-year-old man to pay ?4,000 damages to a burglar who was trying to break into his house. Jack Lewis was asleep in his house in Maidstone, Kent when he heard noises. He picked up his shotgun and went downstairs where he found Michael Phillips in the hall with a bag full of electrical equipment. Phillips claimed that because he was unarmed, he put the goods down and raised hands when he saw the shotgun. Lewis said Phillips had turned to run out of the open front door, so he shot him. Phillips suffered minor wounds to the legs. In the trial, the judge said despite the fact that Lewis was defending his own property, the shotgun was unlicenced and in any case, it was not acceptable for people to take the law into their own hands.
Sir, I am writing in disbelief at the judgement passed on Jack Lewis yesterday. In my opinion, it is absolutely unfair to make him pay for his act of self-defence. In theory he has committed an offence by firing an unlicenced shotgun, and he should be prosecuted for this. But in practice the law should be more flexible. As far as I’m concerned, for a criminal to receive compensation for an injury sustained while carrying out a crime is quite outrageous.
Exercise 1. Correct the wrong statements
1. Jack Lewis was in his late 70-s.
2. He was awake when he heard noises.
3. He thought some burglar broke into his house and decided to ring up the police station.
4. He went downstairs and found Michael Phillips in the hall.
5. Phillips was armed and that’s why he was not scared when he saw the host of the house.
6. Phillips suffered minor wounds to his legs and wasn’t able to run away.
7. Jack Lewis protected his own property and could make his own laws.
8. The judge made Lack Lewis pay damages to Phillips.
Exercise 2. Write a letter to a newspaper giving your opinion about the judgement.
In favour of the judgement: Phillips was unarmed; the shotgun was unlicenced, etc.
In protest of the judgement: Lewis acted in self-defence; he is an elderly man, etc.