This House Would Arrest Batman

Batman is a fictional character created by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. A comic book superhero, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939, and since then has appeared in many of DC Comics’ publications. Originally referred to as "the Bat-Man" and still referred to at times as "the Batman", he is additionally known as "The Caped Crusader", "The Dark Knight", and "The World's Greatest Detective".
In the original version of the story and the vast majority of retellings, Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, an American millionaire (later billionaire) playboy, industrialist, and philanthropist. Having witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, he swore revenge on crime, an oath tempered with the greater ideal of justice. Wayne trains himself both physically and intellectually and dons a bat-themed costume in order to fight crime.[2] Batman operates in the fictional American Gotham City, assisted by various supporting characters including his crime-fighting partner, Robin, his butler Alfred Pennyworth, the police commissioner Jim Gordon, and occasionally the heroine Batgirl. He fights an assortment of villains such as the Joker, the Penguin, Two-Face, Poison Ivy and Catwoman, influenced by the characters' roots in film and pulp magazines. Unlike most superheroes, he does not possess any superpowers; he makes use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, an indomitable will and intimidation in his continuous war on crime.

HOWEVER, do Batman's actions do more harm to justice in Gotham and in fact inhibit the justice system? Should an unregulated vigilante be relied upon? And does Batman increase the danger of an ordinary citizens life in Gotham?.... Or is Batman ultimately a force of good moral authority that should be allowed continue his fight on crime?

This House Would Arrest Batman
Yes because...

he is guilty of GBH with intent

Batman should be arrested as he breaks the law of Grievous Bodily Harm with intent[[s18 Offences Against the Person Act 1861]]. He causes significant harm to other individuals with intent to cause such harm. Grievous harm was categorised and explained by the House of Lords to be 'really serious bodily harm [[DPP v Smith [1961] AC 290, HL]]. 'Really serious' is something for a jury to decide, but bearing in mind the extent of the weapons that batman uses, it would be reasonable to assume that a jury would consider the injuries caused as 'really serious'. The fact that Batman has such weapons to his disposal also passes the specific intent requirement; that Batman intended to cause such harm.

No because...

In order for such harm to be an offence, the infliction has to be 'unlawful'. However, one of the requirements to an action being unlawful is that it is not an act of self defence. One could argue that these enemies are planning to attack Batman, and as self defence includes pre-emptive stirkes [[R v Deana, 2 Cr.App.R. 75]]. This means that you need not wait to be attacked, you may attack first with the reasonable belief that if you do not, they will harm you.

This House Would Arrest Batman
Yes because...

he is guilty of carrying offensive weapons

It is illegal for people without lawful authority, such as the police or soldiers, to carry in a public place an offensive weapon[[s1 Prevention of Crime Act 1953]]. Batman's suit is full of such weapons [[http://agentofthebat.tripod.com/batpro.html]] from the leg fins to his utility belt. All of which he carries around in public. A public place is deemed to be anywhere where the public have access to[[s1(4) Prevention of Crime Act 1953]], regardless of the time of night. Therefore he is guilty of this offence.

There are actually laws against home made weapons. They need to fit certain criteria. For example, in most states it is illegal to have a switch blade (a pocket knife that opens with the push of a button, like the one the Joker has in The Dark Knight). This means it is also illegal to buy a pocket knife and modify it to open with the push of a button.

No because...

It is a defence if the person can show that they have a reasonable excuse for carrying that offensive weapon. Such reasonable defence includes protection from a specific danger[[http://www.inbrief.co.uk/offences/offensive-weapon-possessing.htm]]. Given the violence ridden nature of Gotham City, such a requirement can be deemed to have been met.

Gotham is an American city; there are no laws against carrying weapons that were invented in your own labs; which you legally own. (Wayne Industries definitely gave Batman a receipt since he owns the joint)

This House Would Arrest Batman
Yes because...

he is guilty of destroying and damaging property

Batman rages through cities and causes explosions with his use of technology. His Bat-mobile damages innocent people's cars[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4462224/1/Property_Damage_and_Hospital_Bills]]. It is an offence to destroy or damage property belonging to another, or being reckless as to whether such damage was caused[[s1 Criminal Damage Act 1971]]. Batman is guilty under this rule as even if it could be argued that he does not intend to cause such damage, that is no excuse. In driving fast and in throwing his enemies across rooms he is causing damage to other people's property. This is recklessness; knowing the risk but not caring if such damage was caused[[R V G (2003) UKHL 50]].

No because...

The offence requires that there be no lawful excuse for the damage. But Batman has two claims to a lawful excuse. He can claim that he believed that the person to whom the property belonged would have consented to the destruction of the property had they known the circumstances [[s5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971]]. This is a persuasive reason not to arrest Batman as most people would consent to the destruction of their property in order for a dangerous criminal to be caught. The test is whether Batman believed such consent would have been made, not that it actually was there. It is not necessary that such a belief is justified, just that it is honestly held by Batman [[s5(3) Criminal Damage Act 1971]]

This House Would Arrest Batman
Yes because...

His is guilty of illegal vigilante justice

Batman takes the law in his own hands; he beats criminals up and sometimes even kills them. Batman has no respect for the legal system or court rulings; otherwise he wouldn't punish suspects before arrest and trial.
[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigilante#Works_of_fiction]]

"1: My opponent claims that vigilantism was necessary on Mr. Wayne's part due to the state of anarchy in Gotham City. However, Gotham was not in a state of anarchy. There was still an active government and police force. While the government may not have been adequately combating crime, Mr. Wayne still could have avoided vigilantism, an illegal activity [1]. With Mr. Wayne's considerable finances [2] and stealth capabilities [3], he could have pursued alternative methods of ensuring the apprehension of criminals. I will detail these alternatives later in my statement.

2: While there may have been failure by the government, this failure had not yet caused true lawlessness and disorder. The fact that there was still a police force for Mr. Wayne to subdue criminals for shows that the law still remained. I will show that there were alternative ways for Mr. Wayne to reduce Gotham's significant crime rate that did not require vigilantism.

3. While I acknowledge that Mr. Wayne did reduce the crime rate in Gotham City and that a less purehearted vigilante may have eventually emerged, Mr. Wayne is still a vigilante, meaning he is a lawbreaker by nature. Since he is a violent lawbreaker who has the alternative of nonviolence, his actions are inherently unjust. While the argument can be made that he was still acting righteously, I will prove that there were viable alternatives to Wayne's vigilantism and that his activities as "Batman" serve mostly as a method of carrying out his personal vendetta against Gotham's criminals." [[http://www.debate.org/debates/Resolved-The-Actions-of-the-Vigilante-Known-as-Batman-are-Justified/1/]]

No because...

Who is to say that what is illegal is also unjust? Surely that depends on who made the law and their personal beliefs? If we look at different countries, we can see that different people have a different view on what is and is not just.

Given that Gotham City has a corrupt Government [[http://www.killermovies.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-356466-gotham-city.html]], breaking the laws there may be illegal, but it would not be unjust. Therefore it would be an act of immorality to uphold unjust laws and arrest someone for just evasions of that corrupt and unjust law.

This House Would Arrest Batman
No because...

he is assisting in making an arrest

'A person may use such force as is reasonable for the prevention of crime' in assisting in arrest[[s3 Criminal Law Act 1967]]. This is what Batman is doing. Given the considerable lacking of the police force in Gotham City, Batman is assisting the city in making arrests.

Yes because...

The assistance as to be for a 'lawful arrest'. An arrest is only lawful if an officer has reasonable grounds for believing that the person is guilty of an offence[[s24 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984]], and the person arrested is informed as soon as possible of the reason for his arrest[[s28(1) Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984]]. As a constable is not around upon this, there is no lawful arrest taking place and therefore Batman cannot assist in such an arrest.

This House Would Arrest Batman
No because...

he uses force only in self defence

Batman does not cause harm to individuals with any other intention than the protection of others. This is a legitimate common law defence[[R v Rose (1884) 15 Cox 540]]. Batman only does what he thinks honestly and instinctively that the harm he inflicts is proportionate to the harm he is preventing and that is strong evidence that his action is reasonable and therefore constitutes lawful self defence[[s76(7)(b) The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008]].

Yes because...

No he saves other people or the world or Gotham; He barges in whenever other people are fighting and takes the law into his own hands; without even alerting the police. Vigilante justice as carried out by Batman and other fictional superheroes like him is unlawful. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigilante#Works_of_fiction]]

This House Would Arrest Batman
No because...

He is a necessary evil in the context.

Batman created his identity in response to a world where there are very real threats that can't be fought by the Police but can be fought by him. He has specific in-depth knowledge and experience of how to defeat the Joker, Two-Face etc. including gadgets he specifically built to combat their methods of attack. He has more resources than the Police and is better trained than any Policeman, the fact that he is only one person means he can act more quickly and stealthily. Criminals are far more afraid of him than they are of the Police as he has based his entire identity around being an archetype that people fear. He is also fanatically dedicated and can't be corrupted - especially necessary in a world where villains exist who are equally dedicated to evil and cannot be rehabilitated.

Yes because...
This House Would Arrest Batman
No because...

What would you do once you arrest him?

A prison can't hold him - he is far too resourceful, he would find a way to break out straight away, or his corporation would bail him out. He is too dedicated to be persuaded to stop. Even if you could press charges against his corporation, it is huge, it wouldn't bankrupt him.

Even if there was some way to persuade him to stop - someone killed him, or came up with a better solution that he would actually accept - he is protected by narrative causality. He would just survive due to Plot happening, or someone would replace him, or some other plot device that keeps the story going. He is designed to be a main character of a long-running series, he doesn't just go away.

Yes because...


This House Would Arrest Batman

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