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Robert Swan. I wasn't going to comment further on this topic but you have misunderstood my meaning and I must clear this up. I meant you to understand that it should be, as far as possible, the responsibility of the courts (or other agencies) to look after victims. I definitely did not imply that courts DO fully recompense victims or even can. In many cases full restitution is impossible. The victim is dead, the money is all gone. What would you have us do ? Allow victims to become Shylocks? Criminals do wrong and there is just no way victims can be fully compensated. From what some write here they would allow victims their pound of flesh or set off and condone clan warfare.

Aug 19, 2018 at 6:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

golf charlie:

I was not advocating mass killing

I would have been astonished if you were; I was just looking at a possible ramification of justifying state killing on the basis of some sort of cost equation. As EM says, it's all a moral minefield.

Let's go mining then ...

The usual order of ceremonies:
1. crime defined by legislators
2. crime committed by felon
3. crime detected by police
4. felon identified by police
5. crime prosecuted by the state
6. penalty determined by the court
7. penalty effected by the state

I believe there are failings at all these stages. I have strong doubts that stiffening up 6 and 7 is addressing the biggest problem. The families of victims where no felon is prosecuted won't be greatly comforted.

The pious "better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man is convicted" is all very well, but I'm pretty sure that ratio has inflated over the years. And of course there are still plenty of innocent men who have been convicted (and sometimes executed, even in the UK). But loosening up the rules of evidence is a slippery slope too.

Aug 19, 2018 at 2:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Swan

Just to be clear, I am against capital punishment.
Aug 18, 2018 at 11:46 PM | Robert Swan

Just to be clear, I am for capital punishment, for certain types of murder, but have no expectation that the Law will change in the UK

Aug 19, 2018 at 12:43 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"golf charlie: You're right that imprisoning people is expensive, but you haven't considered the plus side of the ledger. E.g. they don't need roads or trains; prison guards add to GDP, etc. Not that it will end up in the black, but a fair number of people not in prison wouldn't make it into the black either. Should we kill them too?"
Aug 18, 2018 at 11:46 PM | Robert Swan

I was not advocating mass killing! As a culture rises above the simple maths of a single bullet, once, towards annual costs roughly equivalent to School Fees at Eton, there is some expectation of a better financial return. Having the same faces returning, year after year, for the same type of offences, does no one any good, especially the latest victims.

When victims of crime discover the perpetrators have been locked up before, they are not very happy. When relatives of murder victims find out the murderer had previously been convicted for murder, where should they direct their anger? Has any member of a Parole Board ever been prosecuted for incompetence or held liable for damages?

If someone is found Guilty, how should any Sentence be deemed to have had a successful result? Taxpayers expect that people will emerge from prison as better people, the reality is often the opposite

Aug 19, 2018 at 12:28 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

@Mark Hodgson, Aug 18, 2018 at 12:03 PM

"Tesla investors spooked by revelations in emotional interview"
The share drop was encouraged by a UBS note predicting Tesla's Model 3 will lose $6,000 per vehicle, as costs soar."

Long article in DM about this. Musk seems to be overloaded by exceeding his capabilities, time for a sabbatical.

I liked his "stoned" description.

Aug 18, 2018 at 11:55 PM | Registered CommenterPcar

@golf charlie, Aug 18, 2018 at 9:14 AM

Presumably Pcar is seeking the role of Judge, Jury and Executioner based on the evidence of his personally fabricated evidence and false accusations. There is little to separate him from the Political Extremists of Climate Science, when it comes to honest debate.

As appeal court confirmed all and more of the miscarriages of justice I raised, your ad-hom unprovoked attack once again confirms a blinkered view and infantile foolishness.

Aug 18, 2018 at 11:47 PM | Registered CommenterPcar

Re: death penalty discussion

Many comments worthy of response. Sorry about the timezone time-lapse.

EM: as I said, and golf charlie reiterated, the Chinese already do harvest organs of executed prisoners.

TinyCO2 and EM: I don't believe in this "scale from left to right". A few weeks ago here, trying (failing) to promote peace between golf charlie and Pcar, I mentioned Arnold Kling's excellent explanation of why conservatives, progressives and libertarians always talk at cross-purposes: because they evaluate better worse along different axes (order/chaos vs. tyranny/oppression vs. freedom/constraint). This is pretty good in the broad, though I think we each have built up our own "axis" through our lives. And of course we're all of us "centrists" on our own axis.

golf charlie: You're right that imprisoning people is expensive, but you haven't considered the plus side of the ledger. E.g. they don't need roads or trains; prison guards add to GDP, etc. Not that it will end up in the black, but a fair number of people not in prison wouldn't make it into the black either. Should we kill them too?

Supertroll: you suggest the courts will have looked after the victims. I believe that's incorrect. E.g. Australia's Director of Public Prosecutions says this on their web page:

The CDPP does not act on behalf of a victim as solicitors act for their clients. In carrying out its functions, the CDPP acts on behalf of the whole community.
Australia's is based on the British justice system, so I expect the same applies there.

Just to be clear, I am against capital punishment. The mincer rationale is that, if we must have it, it should be both terrifying and distasteful. I suppose there's a little of Swift's "Modest Proposal" in the idea.

Aug 18, 2018 at 11:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Swan

Once the last medical barriers to large scale transplantation are overcome expect another massive can of worms to open.

Aug 18, 2018 at 10:00 PM | Entropic man

I entirely agree. Science advances quicker than Law. A human life used to start at birth. A human life can be maintained long after a heart is no longer capable of beating, lungs breathing etc.

Aug 18, 2018 at 11:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"A lot of the comments here have the subtext that criminals should be locked away or executed "for the greater good". "
Aug 18, 2018 at 10:00 PM | Entropic man

Erm, no!

"At school in about 1980, I remember a teacher explaining that a punishment should:
1. be a deterrent, by not being something people would wish for
2. satisfy society that the perpetrator had been punished
3. correct the perpetrators mind set, so that no repetition would occur.

The Death Penalty solves all three points. Once that is removed from the options list, nothing else can guarantee all three."

Aug 18, 2018 at 4:21 PM | golf charlie

If you are not going to execute, or lock up for life, what is the purpose of a prison?

The Death Penalty may not be a deterrent, but it does stop repeat offending. My personal moral opinion is that the Death Penalty should be available for premeditated murder, including terrorism. I am under no illusion that this is likely to change the Law

Aug 18, 2018 at 11:23 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Aug 18, 2018 at 9:42 PM | Supertroll

It was the Law then, that executed prisoners should be buried within the Prison. I don't think it was therefore Consecrated Ground. I do not know whether a Prison Chaplain was allowed or barred from the internment. This was part of the punishment approved by our Christian predecessors.

Entropic Man has referred to "organ harvesting" from executed prisoners. This already happens in China, and presumably people profit financially.

Families were understandaby upset to find out UK Hospitals had been doing it for years

"This involved the unauthorised removal, retention, and disposal of human tissue, including children’s organs, during the period 1988 to 1995. During this period organs were retained in more than 2,000 pots[note 1] containing body parts from around 850 infants. These were later uncovered at Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool, during a public inquiry into the organ retention scandal.

The scandal led to the Human Tissue Act 2004, which overhauled legislation regarding the handling of human tissues in the UK and created the Human Tissue Authority."

When Military Transport Planes have brought back the coffins of those killed in Afghanistan by IEDs, it is comforting for all to assume the coffin contains an entire body, carefully retrieved by colleagues whilst under fire in a war zone.

Aug 18, 2018 at 10:58 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

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