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Criminal Appeal Court to consider Whitstable stabbing case for 'householder defence'

ByKentOnline reporter

A lying thug jailed for stabbing a friend who refused to leave his house after a row has won the first stage of a unique legal fight to clear his name.

Taylor Martin, 25, from Whitstable, inflicted a life-threatening abdominal wound on Tarren Laughton after the pair fell out during a drinking session at Martin’s then home in October 2016.

Martin, of St Francis Close, was convicted of wounding with intent and jailed for 17 years with an extended licence period of four years.

Taylor Martin was jailed for 17 years after stabbing his former friend in the stomach
Taylor Martin was jailed for 17 years after stabbing his former friend in the stomach

Canterbury Crown Court heard in June 2017 how Martin blamed the vicious attack on two strangers – which resulted in an innocent 14-year-old schoolboy being arrested and questioned.

Martin was caught on police bodycam footage smirking and telling his fictitious account as Mr Laughton was receiving treatment for his injuries.

But now top judges at the Criminal Appeal Court have granted the prisoner permission to challenge his conviction.

Martin is set to rely on the “householder defence”, which in some circumstances allows an occupant in their home to lawfully use force to repel another who is “there as a trespasser”.

The appeal court heard the pair argued and Martin demanded Mr Laughton left his home.

“Mr Laughton was asked to leave several times. He refused,” Lady Justice Rafferty told the appeal court.

Martin then resorted to violence, stabbing his pal with a kitchen knife and causing a serious wound to his bowel which could have killed him.

“His life was saved only through the skill of medical staff,” the judge said.

Martin is now set to argue that he was acting in lawful self-defence when he turned on his friend, because Mr Laughton had become an intruder after refusing to leave.

The householder defence is usually raised only in cases where burglars have broken into a dwelling and the occupant has subsequently resorted to violence.

A recent high-profile example was the stabbing of burglar Henry Vincent by Richard Osborn-Brooks in Hither Green, south-east London, in April 2018. An inquest ruled the 79-year-old homeowner had acted lawfully.

The Court of Appeal, Royal Courts of Justice (13296985)
The Court of Appeal, Royal Courts of Justice (13296985)

But Lady Justice Rafferty said a judge hearing at a recent Courts Martial case had ruled the defence could extend to an intruder who is initially invited into premises but later “becomes a trespasser”.

Martin’s case is the first non-military case in which the argument will be tested.

“There is sufficient merit in this case for it to be argued before the full court,” the judge said.

She adjourned the application for permission to appeal, directing that the case be decided by three top judges at a full hearing, with the appeal to follow if successful.

That hearing will now take place at a later date, yet to be set.

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

For information on how we can report on court proceedings, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Whitstable

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