He was awoken by the sounds of an intruder at his home in Newcastle.
It was 3:30 in the morning and 33-year-old Benjamin Batterham traced the sounds to right outside his daughters door where there stood Ricky Slater, 34, who had been recently released from prison for breaking and entering. But Ricky had other criminal history as well. That of being a convicted rapist.
Batterham went after Slater, fighting with him and eventually beating Slater, leaving him with severe brain damage as a result. Meanwhile Batterham suffered bites and lacerations to his face and body. Slater was placed on life support, but then later died when it was removed. Batterham ended up turning himself in to face charges of murder, which the public is finding absolutely unbelievable.
A petition has since been formed which calls for the release of Batterham. More than 100,000 signatures have been signed as many are outraged that defending your own home, let alone your daughter against a convicted rapist, can lead to murder charges!
Were Batterham’s actions a reasonable response to a threat? That’s what the courts of New South Wales have to decide. This is what Pauline Wright, who is the chair of the NSW criminal law committee, had to say about the matter at hand:
“The main issue about self-defense is ensuring your response to what happened is proportionate and reasonable under the circumstances. If someone walks up to you in the street and slaps you on the shoulder it wouldn’t be reasonable for you to pull out a gun and shoot them or similarly pull out a knife and stab them. That wouldn’t be a reasonable or proportionate response to the threat. If the police can’t prove it wasn’t in self defense then you would succeed in your defense.
In NSW it could be self-defense if you were able to stop your attacker and you didn’t use anything more than reasonable force before taking them to police station or court. If that was the case you would be acting within your rights but you do have to be very careful if you’re in a situation like that not to step over the line as the line can be a little bit grey as to what is self defense and what is unreasonable force.”
Naturally the Slater family believes that Batterham went over the line, using excessive force to defend his own home, inside his own home, and to protect his daughter from their sick son. They also state that their son was there for a party at 3:40 in the morning, and was not breaking in.
But the outrage over this excuse and Batterham’s imprisonment is huge as not only the petitions show but the number of letters written in support of Batterham and his actions, believing sternly that homeowners have the right to defend their families from criminals who force their way into their homes.
Some of the statements in support of Batterham are as follows:
“If you creep into someone’s residence uninvited you deserve to die, it’s that simple, good people don’t invade peoples living space.”
“How dare you prosecute someone for defending their home and their family in their own home! This is NOT murder, this was NOT premeditated. This was self defence.”