A court has upheld the right of a person to use reasonable force to defend themselves against a home intruder.

In a landmark decision, a Central Criminal Court jury acquitted Martin Keenan (20) of the murder of an unarmed man he stabbed to death with broken garden shears after finding him in his bedroom.

It is the first time a murder charge has been defended using the Criminal Law (Defence and the Dwelling) Act 2011, which removed an obligation on householders to retreat, and allows for the use of reasonable force against intruders.

The legislation was introduced in the wake of the Padraig Nally case, where a farmer was accused and later acquitted following two trials of the unlawful killing of a notorious criminal he found trespassing on his property.

Source: Irish Independent