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Death Penalty Debate - Further Thoughts

  • Category(s): Death Penalty Essays
  • Created on : 14 March 2015
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  • Author: Richard Michael Lamb


This debate may not be suffocated at birth - it is for the debaters to argue its merits and demerits in the interests of the English Crown and those who live under Her power.

1. The Position I Occupy

This is based on my two recent essays:

The True Meaning of Honesty: No. 131 (2014)
The USA Death Sentence Climate: No. 160 (2015)

2. The Judges and Queen’s Counsel and Other Practitioners in Law in England and Wales.

These esteemed persons may not enter the fray as a general rule. They are either sitting criminal Judges or close to a criminal judicial appointment. They are duty bound to administer justice, not to make or influence legislation on so sensitive an issue as the death sentence for murder. Even Solicitor Advocates in crime and Solicitors generally should be hesitant about speaking publicly on this issue, so long as they hold a practising Certificate and rely on it to practise. I have in mind that I am non-practising and that bipartisanship is essential to criminal and civil justice, including the Family Courts. The abhorrence of one sidedness (i.e. to be bipartisan) is at the root of fairness, and if practitioners and Judges working in the field of criminal law cross the border into vocal expression of their attitude to the death sentence issue, there is a danger they will jeopardise this abhorrence. The Civil Judges in their hierarchy bind together civil jurisprudence, which is connected to the essence and principles of our criminal justice system. You either back Her Majesty’s Judges in their entirety, or you leave it to others to administer Her Justice. You cannot opt in then opt out.

3. The Debate

This has not yet begun in earnest, but the signs are clear of an English public alive to EU secession, and then repeal of the cumbersome and unwieldy Human Rights edifice becomes more likely. With those two building blocks in place the restoration of this Death Sentence may be supported by the common man in England and Wales. Thus, the ultimate decision on whether to practise law in England and Wales must be down to the individual candidate, but the impending “sound of gunfire” should be heeded. Hanging is a fundamental reform in our criminal justice which many Judges and practitioners, not to mention others outside the law, will find completely unpalatable. The heated debate engendered, if we find this question on the High Table agenda, will not be for the timid or fearful. I sound a cautionary note to those entering the profession - the law is troublesome.

4. The Analogy

The High Court would develop our Human Rights stream of justice free of the ECHR in my vision. The purity, density and solidity of this lava flow when cooled and hardened would be incapable of breaking up. Such would be the renown of English Justice once more for all to survey. The ultimate strength of our High Court would be established over all comers then and forever, subject ot the overriding sovereignty of our English Parliament, as always.

5. What is my Policy?

There are four vital limbs:

Trial by Judge alone for all murder cases including for associated offences to the act of murder. Jury trial to be sidelined in England and Wales for murder and these associated offences.
The ultimate sentence to only be available for a murder conviction itself or attempted murder, counselling and procuring murder, soliciting or inciting murder, aiding and abetting murder or conspiracy to murder. In no other case would the death sentence apply.
In the event of a conviction for one of these offences at sub para b) above and a resulting sentence of death passed by the puisne Judge, there would be an automatic right of appeal to the Court of Appeal Criminal Division (full Court of no less than three Judges) regarding that death sentence alone within 28 days (to be heard) of that death sentence being passed.
Lastly, I say if the defendant is convicted of murder or on one of these associated offences I refer to, he will be at risk of the gallows by the discretion unfettered of the Trial Judge so convicting him. If he escapes the sentence of death by the exercise of that judicial discretion, he will be given a determinate prison term instead. The Trial Judge will be empowered to pass sentence of death by himself alone, if he so decides, under my projection. The death penalty will always be a discretionary decision of the Trial Judge, I propose.

6. Restoration or Revolution

These features of the new death sentence climate I envisage, are all radical changes compared to Criminal Justice in our Assize Courts of the 1940’s and 1950’s pre-abolition. The result would be a modern, highly effective and powerful Crown Court run regime for trying murder cases and sentencing such convicts in this Capital Punishment process to be ushered in by the will of the people and parliament. The treaties with foreign states to follow secession from EU, the Judge led Human Rights law when the ECHR is severed, the British nuclear disarmament (see my 17th July 2013 essay ) and the newly strengthened Anglo-American alliance to also proceed in this wake, are nigh on revolutionary in every corner of our society and English external relations. The proposed death sentence reinstatement is the crowning glory I submit. You either accept the policy or refute it entirely - you cannot pick and choose. Thus, the ground breaking is astounding if the policy, in all its aspects as outlined, is accepted and enacted. It can be done - have no second thoughts on that score. Whether it will be done is in the hands of God the Father with His Son and the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Ghost. That Trinity does not lack tenacity.

7. The Task Ahead Further Delineated.

Let the Judges and Queens Counsel do justice in the English manner. The EU, her Tribunals and the Convention lack the spirit of the generosity of Christ, however strictly proper and correct their directives, Judgements and Articles may be. You cannot do justice without that spirit in your being, whether you recognise it or not. May justice be clarified not hampered. This is why I argue for the return to the old values. Europe has entrenched her political, economic and foreign policy bastions in the post-Millennium era. These fortifications cast a shadow over England and her promise. They are not our policies by any view from the English coastline.

We still lead the free world. Let us show the nations we have not lost our calibre. Europe in the EU may pursue its own path, but England should rely on her Westminster Parliament and our Cabinet in the English Constitutional Monarchy. Our friends abroad expect so much of us. The EU should be uncoupled from England and Wales and its meaningless foreign and defence policy abandoned by the Prime Minister, when re-elected, in favour of the crucial Anglo-American alliance, built on real strength and moral fibre. Then the shackles will fall away from our Constitution and our “national physique” at last. I believe in liberte, egalite and fraternite for all the peoples in this world. These qualities are hard won prizes, but easily mislaid when times are quiet. Now I say return to the breach once more and regain these honours. Then they must be kept secure by ever prescient “counter offensives” and guarded fiercely. We must not slacken our grip or relax our concentration in this blessed and Sceptred Isle.

8. Conclusion

I come back to the law. What does all this mean to our lawyers and Judges serving and retired? If my policy is no more than passing wind discard my challenge. If on the other hand I have legitimately laid down the gauntlet, there are questions to answer. I believe the two most senior Judges: the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls hold periodic interviews with the media. I argue these two very senior Judges should make their view known on the policy enunciated herein. They will reassure the English Judiciary their cohesion as a cohort will never be disrupted. What is my last word? Each person should pursue contemplation, education and percipience to his utmost. Now is the time to rally round. We require discernment, not disputatious conduct. The English and Welsh rightly look to our Judges for leadership and have done so for centuries. They will not be dismayed in my submission.