Everyone deserves the right to feel safe in their own home

AgForce urges all our farmers to stay alert - but not alarmed. Picture: Supplied.

Twenty years ago, British farmer Tony Martin was jailed after he shot dead a burglar breaking into his property.

His subsequent conviction attracted huge public attention and even today continues to divide a nation – raising important questions over homeowners’ rights.

Martin maintains he does not “have to excuse myself for anything”, and believes the law still falls short in protecting householders defending their homes.

But is he a man who took a stand to defend his home or a violent eccentric who turned vigilante?

As rural crime rises across Queensland, many farmers are taking extra steps to protect their homes and land.

At AgForce, we are working to help them do just that – releasing a range of material that seeks to raise awareness and promote safety.

Advice includes installing alarm systems, checking the condition of boundary gates and fences, and of course – locks, locks, and more locks!

But there is only so much we can do.

The sad fact is our farmers are geographically easy targets, and the easier it is to break-in, the more lucrative a target becomes.

The law has not changed. You are allowed to take reasonable steps to defend yourself and your property.

In Martin’s case, he claimed to have been acting in self-defence – but that in itself is a grey area – and because the intruders were running away when he opened fire, the test of ‘what’s reasonable’ was not felt to have been met.

Still targeted by burglars, these days, he has set up surveillance systems to show people trespassing on his land to size up his properties.

Would he handle things differently next time?

“When I walked down that staircase that fateful night, I took back control of my home,” he says.

Regardless of your views on Martin, the bottom line is everyone deserves to feel safe.

We urge all our farmers to stay alert – but not alarmed – and to follow our tips to make sure their properties and their people are protected this winter.