A Case for Life or Death

The age old subject of capital punishment as the ultimate deterrent has reared its head in the media again. It comes in the light of various hanus crimes committed over the past few years forcing the issue to the forefront of public consciousness. Sometimes all too easily forgotten except by the family and friends of the victims of crime. The dividing line between the two camps of opinion is undoubtedly being breached by the perceived light prison sentencing by the courts. Life doesn’t mean life so why call it that? How can a convicted murderer be back on the streets after, say, ten, twelve or even fifteen years? It seems to me that despite the overwhelming need for referendum the politically correct world in which we live has once again deprived society of its say on natural justice: the law being the law and justice meaning precisely that. Society is unhappy because it has no genuine representation of its views in parliament, views that change and evolve from one parliamentary term to the other, and has the intelligence to move and shift to meet current needs. It seems as if the very subject of a death penalty has been closed to discussion as a genuine conversation that needs to take place. Instead, anyone who might share the view that Ian Huntley or Harold Shipman should have shared the same end as the Oklahoma bomber is somehow deranged or part of the comedic ‘hang-em-high’ brigade. Perhaps this view might change if the law were to stipulate that a sentence of life for murder should be replaced with a sentence of full and natural life term. When a child has been murdered in the most horrific of circumstances I see no room for regard to the feelings of opinion. I only see a killer, a destroyed family, and an inadequate judicial sentence. The bottom line is that any judge should have the ultimate sanction in their box of tools, and that anyone considering murder be made fully aware that said judge has the power to remove them from society forever. The difficulty with all such ‘extremes’ will always be emotion. No civilised person would want to take the life of another. Yet, if our criminal justice system continues to let society down by misrepresenting the needs of a population which is tired and yearning for justice then I see no alternative to having a referendum on the death penalty. Sometimes there is more to life than changing laws about whether people can smoke in public places or not or the lack of grit on our roads during severe winter weather. Who cares who’s having an affair with whom? Sometime there are more disturbing things to be dealt with: unsavoury things that need addressing and, yet again, I doubt if any of our current batch of ‘wanna-be’ political leaders has the stomach for this one.


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One response to “A Case for Life or Death

  1. Peter Chisholm

    A nice peice Richard.
    In the infancy of my police service I used to attend court to see what sentence the villains I had caught were handed down, sadly I even did this sometimes on my day off, for me it was like seeing through the end of the process to an end point. It did not take me long to become disillusioned with some of the sentences given and the ridiculous excuses they presented to the court for assaulting their wife, drink driving, committing burglary of a pensioners home (insert offence as appropriate). So I stopped going and as the years passed by I caught some really serious criminals and I simply had to satisfy myself that “I had done my bit” which was the arrest and subsequent statements gathering evidence etc. I never again felt that satisfying feeling of seeing it to a true and just end and I guess I never will again.

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