Mudcat Café Message Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
CET BS: Too obese to execute (147* d) RE: BS: Too obese to execute 25 Sep 12

I was aware of the Scottish not proven verdict, but didn't mention it because it doesn't exist outside of Scotland. The balance of probabilities standard is not relevant to this debate because it does not apply to criminal offences, serious or otherwise. I know that the British government has done a lot to whittle down the protections that the common law used to give an accused person (the warning that British police give to suspects, and that makes me want to scream every time I watch a BBC detective show, springs to mind) but I hope they haven't gone that far.

Raedwulf: that's not how criminal law works. "I think you're guilty" does not equal guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It means that the trier of fact (judge or jury) has a doubt and must acquit the accused. Only if the jury member can say "I am convinced that you are guilty because the evidence allows no other rational conclusion" can she properly vote to convict. Courts have wrestled with defining reasonable doubt. In Canada juries are instructed that it is much closer to absolute certainty than it is to proof on a balance of probabilities. Courts in other countries have tried different approaches, but it is pretty well universally accepted that the criminal standard of proof is much more demanding than "thinking" that someone is guilty.

All the checks and balances you suggest to protect against wrongful executions are, or should be, involved at the stage of determining guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the case for the prosecution can't withstand that level of scrutiny the accused is supposed to go free. That's why I said that once the accused has been found guilty, you cannot expect the judge to go on and impose an even higher standard of proof. Occasionally, before capital punishment was abolished, governments would intervene to commute a death penalty, but only rarely and they certainly did not save Tim Evans from the gallows. The possibility of a judge not allowing the death penalty once a jury has found the prisoner guilty doesn't give me any sense of reassurance. Judge Bullingham is only slightly fictional.

As for whether I share Bobert's views, I do, but if I examine my conscience, I have to admit that in the very hard cases it is really my brain that makes me revolt against capital punishment more than my respect for the life of the killer.

Post to this Thread -

Back to the Main Forum Page

By clicking on the User Name, you will requery the forum for that user. You will see everything that he or she has posted with that Mudcat name.

By clicking on the Thread Name, you will be sent to the Forum on that thread as if you selected it from the main Mudcat Forum page.
   * Click on the linked number with * to view the thread split into pages (click "d" for chronologically descending).

By clicking on the Subject, you will also go to the thread as if you selected it from the original Forum page, but also go directly to that particular message.

By clicking on the Date (Posted), you will dig out every message posted that day.

Try it all, you will see.