A well-known scene from A New Hope is Han Solo who shoots Greedo in the Cantina. Could this be substantiated as self-defense? In response to a survey of 'The Legal Geeks', I spoke with lawyer and geek Sidney Smeets. What would Solo expect from the Dutch court?
In A New Hope we see how Han Solo is driven into the corner at gunpoint by the bounty hunter Greedo. When Solo wants to leave Mos Eisley Cantina, Greedo stops him and forces Han to sit down again. Greedo expresses the intention to kill Han and deliver it. Han secretly pulls his own firearm, and before Greedo can strike Han switches him off.
Josh Gilliland from The Legal Geeks sought in 2012 whether this can be legally substantiated as self-defense. However, that is the American code, so what about the Netherlands?
To answer this question, I spoke with Sidney Smeets. Sidney Smeets is a lawyer who assists clients at home and abroad in all kinds of matters. In addition, he is a geek. Smeets his Instagram is filled with photos of Comic-Con or well-known film locations and he is one of the presenters of the podcast 'Geeky Things'.
Who is more suitable to assist Han Solo in court?
What is self-defense?
First a piece of background. Smeets explains that in the Netherlands we have the justification for 'Noodweer'. If the defender successfully relies on severe weather, there is no penalty. However, the defense must be 'proportional and subsidiary'. "That is to say, you can not use a weapon against someone who you approach with your fists and you may not go beyond what is necessary for the defense."
Also, severe weather is only legitimate if you had no other option, such as running away from the attack. Furthermore, self-defense is only justified if you do not continue after the attack has stopped. If you do this, it is possible that you can rely on 'emergency weather excess'. Someone has then fallen into a certain state of mind, which means he or she goes 'too far'.
If you rely on heavy weather but have used a firearm, it becomes more difficult. Smeets says: "Firearm possession is forbidden so it is argued that someone who goes out with a firearm searches for the confrontation himself and already takes into account that the firearm will be used." If someone himself seeks the confrontation, the person can not appeal do on storm. Although it may also happen that when someone looks up the confrontation, the situation gets so out of hand that there can be self-defense. "It is often not so black and white."
The Solo case
So is Han Solo's acting bad weather? That is still difficult, explains Smeets: "Greedo had the assignment to bring Han to Jabba. He did threaten Han with a blaster, but it may well be that he did not intend to shoot Han at all. The threat of a blaster does not yet have the outward appearance of an attack. "
On the other hand, we also have the dialogue between Solo and Greedo. Han says he will go "over his body", whereupon Greedo replies that "that's the idea" and that he "has been looking forward to this for a long time". "It will depend on whether a judge is convinced that Greedo was about to shoot Han, or just take him to the palace of Jabba the Hutt."
And then came the remastered versions, and Solo no longer shot first. In this version Greedo is the first to pull the trigger, Han practically breaks his neck when he dodges the shot and shoots Greedo.
"In that case it is clear that the intention of Greedo was to lay Han and to transport him horizontally to Jabba," explains Smeets. "As a lawyer, I would certainly argue that there is severe weather and I would also include Han's earlier experiences with Greedo." However, you still have to convince the judge of that, which will not be as easy as that.
"Experience shows that judges often go a step too far to justify the death of another with severe weather. There are almost always other solutions imaginable. "
The penalty claim
If Smeets could not convince the judge of severe weather, how will Solo have to answer for his actions? "If we start from manslaughter (so there is no premeditation) then the national guideline drawn up by the criminal courts is 8 year imprisonment, of which Han must have a fat 5,5."
The latter is because Greedo himself had a firearm with him. According to Smeets, the judge will lay down part of the debt at Greedo, which could result in a reduction of the sentence for Solo. "So it would surprise me if he got that 8 year already."
Now the whole situation takes place in the Mos Eisley Cantina, located in the "most wretched hive of scum and villainy". When Greedo is shot, the music falls silent for a moment and everyone looks over the shoulder. After a few seconds, the conviviality continues. What would be the consequences for the cafe owner?
Smeets explains that catering establishments where offenses are committed and certainly those where firearms are present or where shooting is done, are often closed for a definite or indefinite period. This is in the interest of public order and safety. We see that happening in various Dutch municipalities.
However, Smeets suspects that Mos Eisley knows different rules than for example Amsterdam. "In that case, we can hardly blame the Wuher for the death of a Rodian in his bar."
Multiple "original" Star Wars props under the hammer for hundreds of thousands of dollars
Veilinghuis Profiles in History auctioned several original Star Wars props for 11 dollar prices on 12, 13 and 300.000 December. However, the term "original" is open to discussion. Sometimes several people claim to have the original object. (Lake…)
Star Wars Studies: No match for a good blaster
The creativity and variety of fantasies
Everyone has seen fantasies pass by about what "actually" would be going on in the Star Wars films. Secret identities of Sith lords to "secret" origins of locations from the films; Phantoms are available in all shapes and sizes. (Lake…)