Self-defense provision may aid farmer's case

One provision in the Criminal Code could, in theory, serve as a defense for Shai Dromi, the farmer who killed one Beduin and seriously wounded another after they had trespassed on his property and tried to steal from him. Article 34J of the Criminal Code, entitled "Self- Defense," reads: "No person shall bear criminal responsibility for an act that was immediately necessary in order to repel an unlawful attack which posed real danger to his own or another person's life, freedom, bodily welfare or property." According to Jerusalem criminal attorney Ya'ir Golan, Dromi would have to prove that he "genuinely and objectively" believed his life was in danger and that he had no way of stopping the thieves other than to shoot to kill. Dromi would also have to convince the court that no measure short of that - for example, shooting in the air or shooting at the thieves' legs - would have been sufficient to stop them from threatening his life. Furthermore, said Golan, there must be a degree of proportionality between the assault and the means used to defend oneself. If an assailant slaps a person in the face, it would be "disproportional," and therefore indefensible, for the victim to shoot him in retaliation.