I AM writing in response to the letter from Mrs Westerman printed in the Wiltshire Times on October 6 under the heading ‘Debunk knife myths’. Firstly she displays a lack of legal knowledge in failing to recognise that the plea of self-defence used in this case offers a complete (and not partial) defence if successful, ie, the accused cannot be found guilty of any lesser charge such as manslaughter. And her arrogance (‘what a travesty’) at presuming to know better than 12 of her fellow men and women who unanimously came to those ‘not guilty’ verdicts takes my breath away. 
Her logic is totally flawed. For example, Does she want the un-named armed cop who shot dead Westminster terrorist Khailid Masood in March 2017 prosecuted for murder? And a reminder that the unarmed policeman PC Keith Palmer who Masood killed with a knife was wearing a stab vest.
The jury in the Trowbridge case quite rightly were not prepared to have the wool pulled over their eyes and that begs the question – why did the CPS press those charges? The person who lost his life was drunk, had taken cocaine and was armed (with an aerosol). Mr Maslen, innocently walking down the street when he was attacked, was also outnumbered by two to one and was further threatened with having a car driven at him. 
Three witnesses at the trial confirmed that he was attacked first and the law allows reasonable force to be used in self-defence. Mr Maslen was jailed for the one (and only) offence which he admitted. Now for the $64,000 question – just what would Mrs Westerman have done in those circumstances? I am sure many WT readers would like to know the answer to that.
Mike Stevens
North Bradley