It’s all fun and games until Robin Hood shoots an arrow at you, draws a sword, and demands your TARDIS. While not as dramatic as Han shooting Greedo, the Doctor had a right to defend himself. Using a spoon is a non-traditional choice, but well within the Doctor’s legal right.
Let’s break down the facts:
The Doctor steps out of the TARDIS
An arrow is shot at the TARDIS, going into the TARDIS about an inch
Robin demands the Doctor’s “Magic Blue Box”
The right to self-defense has existed in Common Law since the days of the fictional Robin Hood. The principle of the doctrine is described as follows:
“It is an elementary principle in criminal law that the person assaulted is justified in using so much force as is necessary to his defense. To repel a slight assault the person assaulted is not authorized to resort to measures of great violence. He will not be justified in doing those acts that are calculated to destroy the life of the assailant unless the assault is of such a character as to endanger his life or inflict on him great bodily injury, or to excite his fears as a reasonable man that such would be the result of the assault. The law limits him to such acts as are necessary to self-defense. The law does measure the degree of the force that may be used to repel the assault; and although it will not make the measurement with a nice hand and hold the person assaulted to accountability for force slightly disproportioned to the assault, yet it will hold him responsible for a clearly marked excess.”
People v. Shimonaka,16 Cal. App. 117, 126 (Cal. App.1911), citing People v. Campbell, 30 Cal. 312 (Cal.1866).
The elements of traditional self-defense are, “where from the nature of the attack, the assailed person believes, on reasonable grounds, that he is in imminent danger of losing his life or of receiving great bodily harm from his assailant, he is not bound to retreat, but may stand his ground, and, if necessary for his own protection, may take the life of his adversary.” People v. Zuckerman, 56 Cal. App. 2d 366, 374 (Cal. App.1942).
The original view of self-defense required the victim to “retreat to the wall.” However, jurisdictions modified the rule that if the victim is without fault and in a place they legally have a right to be, they could stand their ground and not need to retreat. Id.
If Sherwood Forrest was public land, the Doctor would have had a legal right to be there. Moreover, the Doctor had a right to not be TARDIS-jacked by the Prince of Thieves.
The Doctor technically did have his back to the TARDIS after having an arrow fired at him. Moreover, Robin Hood did draw his sword before the Doctor drew his spoon. Both of Robin’s actions would have been considered cause for imminent danger, whether it is being shot with an arrow or stabbed with a sword.
The Thirteenth Doctor physically confronting Robin Hood was very reminiscent of the Third Doctor’s use Venusian Aikido to throw someone over his shoulder. However, the Doctor’s use of a spoon against a sword does highlight how an ordinary object can be a weapon. That being said, a spoon is not as deadly as a sword or arrow. It’s not even a proportional response, even with a spoonful of sugar.
The Doctor was legally justified to defend himself with the appropriate force to stop the assault, and in the end, did not actually harm Robin Hood.