Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html en-gb 30 Wed 02 Sep 2015 06:56:22 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html Robert http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=99#comment357 I think it is a good idea to have a scheme similar to the american's with first degree murder, second dregree murder and manslaughter. This would give a better way of giving sentences that reflect the severity of and cause of unlawful deaths. Mon 13 Sep 2010 07:42:29 GMT+1 Lizzie P http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=99#comment356 351. At 7:43pm on 12 Sep 2010, RobNeal wrote:It's all very well adding new laws, and fiddling with the ones we already have, but our existing laws are either never enforced, or the sentences are a joke. Damilola Taylor's killer has just walked free from a murder sentence after four years. When they said people will get life for murder, they didn't mean the lifespan of a butterfly.Rob, Damiola's killer was sentenced to 8 years for MANSLAUGHTER. That's why he is out now. If it was murder he would have received a mandatory life sentence and wouldn't have got out before the minimum term. I totally support a new system because charging people with first degree murder could result in more whole life tariffs. However, except in limited circumstances, I can't support jailing children for the rest of their natural life (Damiola's killer was 12 when he committed the crime). Mon 13 Sep 2010 07:29:07 GMT+1 chrislabiff http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=99#comment355 Er, yes?! Strewth GB, try and keep up! Mon 13 Sep 2010 05:56:39 GMT+1 Randolf Sheepdip http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=98#comment354 I think that all murderers should be given a second chance and then hung from a meat hook - what's the problem ? Sun 12 Sep 2010 21:36:28 GMT+1 Hairy Gnome http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=98#comment353 Let's look at the death sentence logically:Killing people is wrong! This is murder! If someone kills someone the state should kill them this is right! This is execution!Pardon? Did I miss a step? Suddenly it changed from killing someone being bad, to killing someone being good. Surely if something is bad it's always bad, not just occasionally bad, or bad most of the time except when we want it to be different.Killing people is wrong! State execution makes me, and you, a murderer! Sun 12 Sep 2010 19:18:43 GMT+1 BornCynic http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=98#comment352 Neil wrote:"America" doesn't have the death penalty. Some states have no statute to allow the death penalty. So don't try and justify your pro position by claiming "the USA does it".Frankly, we really don't need to know the bizarre internal political machinations of the USA as to which states do or don't. The fact that *any* state allows capital punishment means that it is approved by the federal government, viz a viz The United States of America has the death penalty. Sun 12 Sep 2010 18:48:46 GMT+1 U14370844 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=98#comment351 288. At 2:17pm on 09 Sep 2010, Total Mass Retain wrote:..For those who do look at other systems of justice one tends to find that the Dutch and Scandinavian systems give more "lenient" sentences than the UK for similar crimes and keep convicted criminals in more congenial surroundings yet appear to have lower crime rates than the UK. Yet the USA, in which many states have systems of justice that are more vengeful and tougher, tends to have higher crime rates.___________________________________________________________________However Saudi Arabia who are even more brutal that the US when it comes to the treatment of criminals, has similar and in some cases lower murder rates than the Dutch and the Scandinavians.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_homicide_rateWhich just goes to show its more complex subject than sentencing. Sun 12 Sep 2010 18:43:14 GMT+1 BornCynic http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=97#comment350 It's all very well adding new laws, and fiddling with the ones we already have, but our existing laws are either never enforced, or the sentences are a joke. Damilola Taylor's killer has just walked free from a murder sentence after four years. When they said people will get life for murder, they didn't mean the lifespan of a butterfly.Life should mean what it says. Sun 12 Sep 2010 18:43:06 GMT+1 AndyC555 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=97#comment349 Susan "I'd likely tell them to sue their lawyers."And how would that bring back a dead innocent person?And why was it the lawyers fault? A witness who lies but is believed? A witness who genuinely has made a mistaken identification. Why is that the lawyers fault? Why not sue the jury? Why not sue the police? Why not sue the honest but mistaken witness?Or how about suing the people who wanted the death penalty rather than life imprisonment?How about they sue you?You're the one who wanted these people dead.Why shouldn't they sue you? If you wouldn't want the responsibility of that, maybe you shouldn't be advocating the death penalty. Sun 12 Sep 2010 16:52:43 GMT+1 AndyC555 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=97#comment348 "318. At 12:05pm on 10 Sep 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:Ineed, it can't be denied that robbery, rather than murder, has, curiously, always attracted longer sentences?"Actually, it can be denied. Mainly on the basis that what you say is completely incorrect.Murder carries a mandatory life sentence with a recomendation of minimum before consideration of parole.Unless you have some evidence, other than the occasional lurid Daily Mail story I'd suggest you refrain from talking nonsense. Sun 12 Sep 2010 16:33:35 GMT+1 legaleagle1989 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=96#comment347 I study law at oxford and I can tell you that I whole-heartedly agree with the proposed reformed. Reading through some of the comments posted above it is obvious that there is a common misconception about what is actually involved in the crime of murder, and to a lesser extent manslaughter.Firstly to commit any crime you need the mens rea (guilty mind) combined with the actus reus (criminal act).For murder you must have an intention to kill the person, or the intention to commit grievous bodily harm (as defined under the Offences against the person act and related case law). Combine this state of mind with actually causing the death of another person and you have murder.The problem is that if you are convicted of murder, the judge must hand down a mandatory life sentence, no ifs or buts. So if you lose your rag against an abusive husband or a tormentor who has made your life hell for the past 10 years and hit him with a frying pan, you get the same sentence as if you are a serial killer who drew sadistic pleasure from torturing people to death.The judges have discretion over the tariff of time you spend in prison, but a life sentence is never expunged from your criminal record. The conviction is never "spent" which affects your life prospects greatly. Further the home secretary can bang you up back in prison without a hearing on his discretion.the definition of a "life sentence" is to be placed on a life licence for the rest of your days. you are never free, you are always a felon living on her majesty’s time. Basically this reform is to stop that happening to battered housewives, bullied and abused people, and people who commit "crimes of passion" rather than the truly evil actions of premeditated, cold blooded murder. Sun 12 Sep 2010 14:03:44 GMT+1 Bill Walker http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=96#comment346 There are no degrees of death, therefore there should be no degrees of murder. Sun 12 Sep 2010 07:35:15 GMT+1 William E Smith http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=96#comment345 I agree with the idea of rehabilitation but not at the expense of justice. Today punishment is an accidental component of rehabilitation. I think it should be an active and deliberate part. Rehabilitation should be the merciful and compassionate conclusion of the punishment. IE. Rehabilitation should be the reward for enduring the punishment in a compliant and law abiding manner and should be awarded at the conclusion of the sentence. It should be earned. If sentences are shortened then they should be more severe. Prison should be a dreaded place to be. Sun 12 Sep 2010 03:44:18 GMT+1 Albert http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=96#comment344 Regarding the comments on the death penalty - 1, it makes society as bad as the killer, and (most importantly) there have been too many miscarriages of justice with innocent people being locked up for crimes they didn't commit. A dead man cannot be set free. For the worst cases life should mean life. Sat 11 Sep 2010 20:53:04 GMT+1 Albert http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=95#comment343 It seems a sensible move as every case is different. Someone who abducts and kills a child is a vastly different case to a battered wife who disposes of her abusive husband with nuemrous shades of gray inbetween. Sat 11 Sep 2010 20:50:49 GMT+1 youarejoking http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=95#comment342 Murder-cold calculated murder should mean life without any chance of release.Murder in a fit of temper should be treated as a lesser crime which could be considered for release after an agreed time and intense treatment.As for a death penalty-it would not stop anyone who kills for gain or position just look at the US.The death penalty doesnt stop calculated murder.Banning guns in the US might reduce murder though. Sat 11 Sep 2010 20:47:25 GMT+1 Clear Incite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=95#comment341 339. At 1:20pm on 11 Sep 2010, SpacePirateFTW wrote:As an American living in England and paying my taxes here and there, I have the luxury of perspective from both sides. Furthermore, I'm from the south where we DO have the death penalty, and it seems some of you are mistaken on the American legal system. Federal law > state law, so Federal law allows for capitol punishment. State laws may or may not but they have the option. "America" doesn't have the death penalty. Some states have no statute to allow the death penalty. Being convicted of murder in New Jersey could not possibly lead to a death sentence, while it could in Alabama. So don't try and justify your pro position by claiming "the USA does it" and don't try to justify your con position by claiming "the USA does it". Secondly, have a look at the figures on how much it costs to maintain a prisoner on death row, through the unlimited appeals system, and then the final hurrah. I can't be bothered to look them up, but it can't be cheap. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Just goes to prove some Brits or even a large amount are as thick as their US cousins. Sat 11 Sep 2010 20:47:03 GMT+1 Terry http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=94#comment340 We should a poll on whether the death penalty should be brought back,It has always been said the the majority of people would vote for the death penalty, but the politicians are to afraid to put it to the vote. common market should keep their nose out of British affairs.LET THE PEOPLE VOTE IT IS OUR RIGHT. Sat 11 Sep 2010 16:45:51 GMT+1 Skeptik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=94#comment339 Erm - a life sentence actually does mean a life sentence. When a lifer is released from prison, he or she doesn't go totally free, he or she is subject to the terms of a license that means that they should be supervised by the probation service. Any breach of that licence can mean that they are sent back to prison to serve the rest of their sentence.We know that this works - John Venables was returned to prison after he had committed some pretty horrible crimes. I would suggest that the reason that he was able to commit those crimes is as much the fault of the government's lack of funding in the probation service as anything else. Killing him at the point of conviction of his first crime would have been to murder a child.Releasing someone from prison means that the tax payer no longer has to pay for the cost of incarceration. It also shows that this is a civilised society that does not only consider prison to be an act of vengeance (OMG - I can't wait to read the responses to that one...). A properly funded an organised probation service should be able to supervise those who are released. Opting for the death penalty shows that this society is no better than anyone else who takes someone else's life. Even Pierrepoint turned against the use of the death penalty towards the end of his career. But, for me, the final argument should be that killing people is wrong. No matter who does it - an individual or the state. Sat 11 Sep 2010 14:25:09 GMT+1 SpacePirateFTW http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=94#comment338 As an American living in England and paying my taxes here and there, I have the luxury of perspective from both sides. Furthermore, I'm from the south where we DO have the death penalty, and it seems some of you are mistaken on the American legal system. Federal law > state law, so Federal law allows for capitol punishment. State laws may or may not but they have the option. "America" doesn't have the death penalty. Some states have no statute to allow the death penalty. Being convicted of murder in New Jersey could not possibly lead to a death sentence, while it could in Alabama. So don't try and justify your pro position by claiming "the USA does it" and don't try to justify your con position by claiming "the USA does it". Secondly, have a look at the figures on how much it costs to maintain a prisoner on death row, through the unlimited appeals system, and then the final hurrah. I can't be bothered to look them up, but it can't be cheap. Sat 11 Sep 2010 12:20:34 GMT+1 khan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=94#comment337 Yes, the laws need change. Unless the fear of being hangedth:the cold blooded murders.What about a murderer brought up in a broken family, who saw horrible days, and has been changed biologically by the people and society surrounding him. Laws are subject to change because society/human nature change. 100 years ago, the uncivilised Westren society never ever dreamt of children killing children- just for fun. I believe recomendation for the change of a law should come from the supreme court when they see the need for the change of law in the intrest of the justice. Sat 11 Sep 2010 12:12:57 GMT+1 forclarification http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=93#comment336 I don't agree with the death penalty but some comments referring to people being released on appeal include the Birmingham 6. They became a great left wing pro-republican 'cause celebre' and, particularly if you apply lots of money and media time, looking back at convictions in the 70s and applying today's forensic standards. it's not difficult to generate reasonable doubt.After their release, West Midlands Police said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the bombings. I think we all know what they meant.Strangely, TB was happy to spend £180M on the Bloody Sunday inquiry (but it took Cameron to have the balls to publish it) but not a penny on who did murder twice as many people in Birmingham.I'm sure the Birmingham victim's families will feel justice is well served. Sat 11 Sep 2010 11:23:03 GMT+1 W Fletcher http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=93#comment335 As long as Bliar can be tried for his war crimes as a mass murderer...then fine. Sat 11 Sep 2010 10:51:06 GMT+1 Denice Spratt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=93#comment334 A stupid money wasting idea and one that we should not even be contemplating. Murder is murder the intent is the same just the degree to which it was carried out and/or planned should make a difference in the sentence and the judge does that already and juries can make recommendations so why do we need such a change in our legal system Sat 11 Sep 2010 09:00:05 GMT+1 franktalker http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=93#comment333 it should be life for life. Sat 11 Sep 2010 08:32:42 GMT+1 justin de shed http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=92#comment332 They want to sort out sentencing first, there are still cases of murder that warrant a death sentence, or full realtime life imprisonment. Also a driver who accidentally kills someone through a moment of inattention certainly does not deserve a prison sentence, whilst a person who deliberately strikes another without provocation certaily does. The law is currently so stupid that the two instances above whould probably warrent similar sentences. A woman who ran a cyclist over was recently sent to prison even though the cyclist had just broken the law by deliberatly going through a red light, the law is absolutely idiotic and until it becomes credible will be treat with derision and ridicule by all and sundry. I personally have lost all respect for judges.This new move is just another sop to the looney liberals to reduce the prison population and save money. But it'll come back and bite us all. Sat 11 Sep 2010 00:35:45 GMT+1 xyz http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=92#comment331 [ 325. At 5:38pm on 10 Sep 2010, Lachlan wrote: Murder should be legalised for a day, starting at midnight and ending at the following midnight. Then after that, any murders should be punished by the death penalty.]LOL! . there'd be nobody left alive. Fri 10 Sep 2010 21:24:20 GMT+1 xyz http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=92#comment330 Mandatory life sentence should mean no release from prison ever. Otherwise what is the point in calling it a lie sentence? It's a mockery, a joke. It bring the law into disrepute.As to the degrees of murder with only first degree having a mandatory life sentence, this seems reasonable. However, until life means life it's a pointless and probably expensive exercise. Fri 10 Sep 2010 20:50:47 GMT+1 Graphis http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=91#comment329 Yes, there are clearly degrees of murder: an armed robber escaping from the scene of his crime who lets off a few shots to discourage pursuit, and one bullet kills an innocent passer-by, is an entirely different matter to someone deliberately raping and killing a small child. Both may be murder, but one is clearly a more horrific, and pre-meditated, crime than the other, and as such deserves a much harsher penalty.Just because we might adopt a similar terminology to the American legal system, doesn't necessarily mean we have to adopt their legal practices too. Fri 10 Sep 2010 20:26:12 GMT+1 Andrew Middleton http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=91#comment328 No, murder is murder, full stop. We don't want any more stupid Yank ideas over here. Look what the "Sue them" attitude imported from over the big pond has done for us. You can't even have a childs play area in a park these days. Fri 10 Sep 2010 19:21:09 GMT+1 C http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=91#comment327 "I think that we need to differentiate between those who commit one murder and those who commit several "Serial killer ? I know there's been some in the UK. Or is this not actually taken into account at the courts ? Quite curious about that one. Fri 10 Sep 2010 18:01:09 GMT+1 C http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=91#comment326 "No, your honour, I didn't mean to kill him, I just wanted to cut his legs off, I had no idea anyone could die from that!"Yep, and then there is attempted murder getting a lesser charge. Huh ? So you award them by giving them less time, because not only are they a failure at life, they also fail at doing such a thing as taking a life IE stupid. They should frankly be put in jail/prison for as long as murderers are, and actually be the laughing stock of the prison, for being an even bigger failure!That's here in the states anyway (attempted versus success, I mean). I would hope you [all] do not get a system like us. Our system is nothing but legal, and that means no justice at all - it's all lawyers and it's fabricated as justice but it's all a lie. Too many have been killed (ie execution) when they were later discovered to be innocent. And then also there's a huge problem, when some more serious crimes are getting lesser punishment than mild/less severe crimes. I could go on and on about this one, but the point is it's a ridiculous system, but they call that "justice".The fact both sides (lawyers) refuse to take jurors if they were in a similar incident is absolutely disgusting example. If there is a medical malpractice trial for example, anyone who has experience with doctors or health issues, usually is dismissed. While it can be convenient to the person who does not want to be on a jury, the fact is these people will know more w hich means less likely to be convinced by lies and other nonsense, which would actually equate to some what higher justice. Fri 10 Sep 2010 17:58:35 GMT+1 mildenhalljohn http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=90#comment325 Of course murder should be graded. The French have the wisdom to recognise a crime of passion, so why cannot we? A murder committed in the course of a rape or robbery should be dealt with in the most draconian way allowed by the law. There is a huge difference that dictates that they should be dealt with accordingly Fri 10 Sep 2010 17:56:20 GMT+1 Lachlan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=90#comment324 Murder should be legalised for a day, starting at midnight and ending at the following midnight. Then after that, any murders should be punished by the death penalty. Fri 10 Sep 2010 16:38:45 GMT+1 Steve Edwards http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=90#comment323 267. At 12:28pm on 09 Sep 2010, Total Mass Retain wrote:Humans Rights are unalienable rights that derive from being a human not from any other qualifications. They are not earned nor can they be lost or repudiated by behaviour. They are there to protect all of us, "good" and "bad" from the arbitrary power of the state such as imprisonment without due process or of cruel and unusual punishments. If you object to certain peopel or groups having human rights then what is to prevent another group deciding you don't deserve them for some totally ridiculous reason?----------------------------------------I'm not sure I buy this - I find it a bit CTTE. How can rights be inalienable? They have to be granted by society - they don't exist in isolation like oxygen in the air. They have to be codified. Different societies will give different versions of what human rights are. Due process, cruel and unusual punishment, the pursuit of happiness may be inalienable rights in the US, but not everywhere else.Human rights are man made.Are you a Yes fan, by the way? Fri 10 Sep 2010 16:00:41 GMT+1 th3_0r4cl3 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=89#comment322 Yes of course based on recent events i think it would be important to ensure that certain behaviour is recognised as legalif someone upsets you - it should be legal to kill them or call for death etc riot and burn other peoples propertyif someone offends your religious sensibilities it should be legal to riot cause criminal damage and kill innocent people until you feel much better about yourself.seriously!!!!What an absolute joke the world is going mad!!!! Fri 10 Sep 2010 15:17:06 GMT+1 aclb http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=89#comment321 I think that we need to differentiate between those who commit one murder and those who commit several Fri 10 Sep 2010 13:47:42 GMT+1 shrekscousin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=89#comment320 There have been a good few posts now about how the death penalty is ‘no deterrent’ – I agree that history shows that it probably hasn’t acted as a deterrent but what I’d like to say, and what I was trying to say in my previous post #182 is that it should be considered as a sentence especially, as I also stated in my previous post, where the individual has been tried by a jury of 10 good, and true people of a crime that has demonstrated them to have acted in a totally BARBARIC and ANAMALISTIC way and that such sentencing is even more relevant where that individual has demonstrated a HISTORY of such animalistic and violent behaviour – their life should be taken. And the people I am thinking about as I write this are, for example, the mother and two teenage daughters who saw their dad getting attacked and kicked to death outside their house by a gang of thugs, the prime perpetrator of which had only recently been released from prison a few days before for a previous very violent crime. I apologise for forgetting the name of the man who dies but by all accounts he was a decent and upstanding member of society and a good father – he died but we are paying £50,000 per year for that animal who is still alive and, judging by today’s sentencing standards, will probably be back on the streets again in the not too distant future. I am also thinking of the parents, form a report last year, whose son was chased into a park by a gang of thugs, one of whom planted an axe into the boys head. It is this kind of totally incomprehensible and animalistic act of evil and violence that should be treated by a sentence of death.I understand that there are many different actions, situations etc etc that may cause one human being to kill another and so each crime should be judged on all of the evidence but that, where crimes are truly of a nature more akin to that of wild animals then I believe that death should be regarded as a sentence. So – I agree that the death penalty possibly does not act as a deterrent but it should still be considered as a sentence, especially where it fits the crime! Fri 10 Sep 2010 12:41:26 GMT+1 I Love England http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=89#comment319 318. At 12:05pm on 10 Sep 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:"The best advice? Don't operate your bank account online would be a good start to avoid virtual robbery?"That's not really the best advice at all... I'd say the best advice would be avoiding using Internet banking on public computers. Ensuring you change your Internet banking password every 6 months or so. Never click on any links inside email relating to Internet banking, and make sure you have a decent firewall and anti virus program installed AND up to date... Fri 10 Sep 2010 12:03:41 GMT+1 Guess Who Dunnit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=88#comment318 Whatever happens - a life sentence should be just that. Murder is the ultimate crime and should be treated accordingly.No-one who takes another life should ever be able to live theirs freely. Fri 10 Sep 2010 11:44:53 GMT+1 corum-populo-2010 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=88#comment317 Ineed, it can't be denied that robbery, rather than murder, has, curiously, always attracted longer sentences?Crime against the person, or murder, has never held much interest in UK law or lawyers?Insurance companies - whether it be car theft, or any other crime of robbery have put pressure on the police via various government departments?This does boil down to statistics - murder is rare, but robbery is on the increase in all it's forms - whether physical or increasingly, via the internet?The best advice? Don't operate your bank account online would be a good start to avoid virtual robbery? Fri 10 Sep 2010 11:05:28 GMT+1 I Love England http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=88#comment316 308. At 9:06pm on 09 Sep 2010, NorthernWarrior wrote:"Killing a home invader should not be considered murder or even manslaughter at all..."This is something I totally agree with. If say I had a family and say 2 people forced their way in to my home to say steel something or threaten me or my family I should have the right to defend myself and my family. If I killed one of those invaders during a struggle or fight of some sort I should be punished for taking his or her life but NOT a punishment that would put me in jail for 15, 10, or even 5 years. In this situation I could be forced to defend my self or risk loosing my own life of a life of my family.Again, If I was driving along the motorway with a friend in the pasenger seat and I fell asleep at the wheel causing the car to hit another car which caused an accident which killed my friend. I should be punished but NOT a punishment that would put me in jail for 15, 10, or even 5 years. This would be a stupid mistake and one I would have to live with for the rest of my life.There are many situations like this that should not carry a hefty sentance away from society. Fri 10 Sep 2010 10:39:59 GMT+1 Charles Hanson http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=87#comment315 So the death penalty is a detterent?Please to all the baying mob who have as much knowledege of the law and do have their facts wrong, Texas who executes more killers than any other state in the United States also has the highest murder rate and the same is true of other states who have the death penalty. Research by criminologists and criminal justice researchers seems to show that where an offender can possibly be identified and thus apprehended say for robbery rape etc and face decades in prison that one solution is to kill the witness.The death penalty is therefore not a deterrent. It is also a lottery as to who gets it and it seems to be poor, uneducated and poorly defended black offenders.All that execution achieves is an end to one offender's life but does nothing to deter others. In fact, the risk of being murdered by an offender is greatly increased if that offender robs you and is going to spend the next 20-30 years in prison if there's an opportunity to silence you and escape detection.Deterrence it aint. Revenge is the better word.Please note that when we had public executions here in the UK for pickpockets who stole over an X amount, there was one active group in the watching crowds watching that hanging - pickpockets! The compulsion and motives to offend hasn't changed. Many people do confuse deterrence with the certainty of being caught.They are not the same.As a one time lifer I should tell you that in fact VERY FEW murders are premeditaded, callous or any other adjectives one cares to use.The majority are one offs by people with no previous offending history the punch up in the pub on a Friday night leading to a death, the row with the next door neighbour which gets out of hand, the guy who flips over discovering his wife is having an affair, road rage etc. Crown Courts up and down the country are hearing cases like this every day but they don't hit the national media. When a case does its usually because there is some element of national interest.The public then seize upon that and generalise that all murders are the same, with intent, premeditated and callous when the very opposite is the case.If one looks at the annual report of the Parole Board it details how many life sentence prisoner cases were heard and how many lifers were ordered to be released and its nothing like some of the postings on this forum - lifers only do 7-8 years and all the other hysterical claims.Very very few murderers are released against those who apply for parole.In 2008/2009 1272 lifers applied for parole. Only 194 were granted it.The majority of these lifers were NOT convicted murderers but serving life for other offences and those serving IPP sentences and what are called indeterminate sentences.I know of lifers who have served over 30 years but they don't hit the headlines and never did. They are held in prison based on perceived risk to the public and many will never be released.For those lifers who are released, of all offending groups (burglars, punch up artists etc) released murderers have the lowest rate of reoffending (and that can be as simple as shoplifting) - 2%, as against say burglars,drug dealers etc nearly 70% such is the state of our prison system.I am beginning to get tired of this debate as so many people have their facts wrong, so many comments border on the hysterical, so may comment on the ludicrous interpretation of the law and others would want to restore public executions (it aint gonna happen so look at the realistic alternatives). I would like a lot of things but reality then kicks in and common sense prevails and I cease to throw the dolly out of the pram. Its nice to have your facts right as facts can be dealt with challenged and argued about. It is rather difficult to deal with silly generalisations, hysteria and the baying mob. Fri 10 Sep 2010 05:05:34 GMT+1 news_monitor http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=87#comment314 83. At 11:50am on 08 Sep 2010, Wyn wrote:milvusvessel (Msg 66)"Knowledge that the death penalty awaits anyone who murders is the surest way to reduce such crimes,"Like it does in the USA you mean?Becoming as uncivilised as the murderers themselves is not going to solve anything.---------------------------Except that for proven, pre-medidated and cold-blooded murder it is a deterrent: knowing that you will be executed if caught - and if so condemned - will simply act as a deterrent in such circumstance. However, killing in 'hot blood' is a different case altogether - albeit with the same result for the victim. Therefore, it is a question of the proven degree of pre-meditation that should determine the type of punishment; two extremes establish this: pre-meditated & callous murder on the one hand and a simple, accidental death-causing event on the other. Death brought about by self-defence and crimes of passion lie between these two extremes - and the sentencing should reflect that.It's not the 'end result' that counts - but the proven motivation - and the reasons for it - which may have various degrees of justification. Thu 09 Sep 2010 23:06:32 GMT+1 PAUL WILLIAMS http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=87#comment313 ...don't think there's any difference between being killed by a drunk driver or a totally sober inept one... dead is dead. In fact i think that the sober inept driver should be punished more severely! Bad driving is bad driving and it's not just the people who've had a couple of pints that are at fault. Thu 09 Sep 2010 21:31:49 GMT+1 Simon Curtis http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=87#comment312 309. At 9:29pm on 09 Sep 2010, joleon1 wrote:surely it is the judiciary that have to sorted out..far too many lenient sentences with far too many let outs..life should mean life not half life..20 years should mean 20 years not 10..in fact any sentence given should mean that sentence..that way we will all begin to understand the law and the criminals will totally understand their lot-----------------------------------------------------Sounds about right and to all the liberals who say they wouldn't behave themselves in prison if there was no early release it's simple if they commit further offences whilst in prison they get extra time. Thu 09 Sep 2010 21:29:02 GMT+1 Enny2012 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=86#comment311 It will be better for BBC to explain it to us. Simple it sounds, if you want a real debate, we must understand what we are talking about. I will like the government to do something on gang crimes, but we cannot lock up all our youths. If there are ways to educate them better, they will know that kicking and stabbing is a crime with intent to kill. Please BBC, this is an interesting topic that will carry a lot of viewers, if you give it a bit of promotion. Let the nation have their views. Argument is what we need, on the national TV. Should murder law be changed? BBC, it's up to you. Thu 09 Sep 2010 20:48:50 GMT+1 jermala http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=86#comment310 As with the rest of this society ,Justice does not exist apart from for the criminal ,How come 99.9% of the British public want murderers hanged and all other crimes to be as they were in Victorian times ,running water in a cell should be down the wall ,a latrine bucket in the corner and animal slops for food ,One thing Muslem countries have got right is the type of punishment that fits the crime . Its funny but since 1945 the justice in this country has become weaker year by year , maybe by winning the second world war we lost the future. Thu 09 Sep 2010 20:37:33 GMT+1 Martin Swift http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=86#comment309 YES!If a person is charged, tried and found guilty...then the death penalty should be in place... Thu 09 Sep 2010 20:34:15 GMT+1 joleon1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=86#comment308 surely it is the judiciary that have to sorted out..far too many lenient sentences with far too many let outs..life should mean life not half life..20 years should mean 20 years not 10..in fact any sentence given should mean that sentence..that way we will all begin to understand the law and the criminals will totally understand their lot Thu 09 Sep 2010 20:29:10 GMT+1 NorthernWarrior http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=85#comment307 There's certainly a case for reviewing the way in which a generic "life" sentence is defined. In fact the term "life" should be dropped and replaced by a specific year tariff.Murder in the first degree should be 99 years, parole only to be considered due to extreme old age.Murder in the second degree 15 - 25 years, with 15 being the minimum term before parole.Killing a home invader should not be considered murder or even manslaughter at all - if we're modelling America citizens there have the right to use lethal force against home invasion.Of course 1st degree murder should really be dealt with Chinese style - AK47 bullet in the back of the neck, but EU law, Amnesty International and the various other bleeding heart apologists have put paid to that. And there's a certain irony for those who voted Tory expecting them to get tough on law and order, that they are likely to water down the punishment system. Thu 09 Sep 2010 20:06:26 GMT+1 star http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=85#comment306 if was killed with no fault of mine and inncoent and if i could speak for my self i would not settle for less then capital punish meant unless it was a mistake or any other genuine reason not because some one is drunk or taking drugs we speak for some who is dead if he or she was to ask how important his/her life was he or she would tell you or what he/she went through while being killed then we will know what should be punishment once it is established that its premeditated,cold and planned murder then nothing less then capital punishment is justice well its not justice but we call it justice if we talk about justicethen he or she should not be killed in the first place that is justice once harmed it can be any thing but justice Thu 09 Sep 2010 19:45:12 GMT+1 2squirrels http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=85#comment305 It is high time life imprisonment ment just that not we'll talk about it after 7/8 years. Thu 09 Sep 2010 19:42:09 GMT+1 justice -firth http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=84#comment304 We already have plead bargaining in this country, and most crimes are pre-arranged sentencing as it is, The prisons are full to overflowing, and they are like hotels with Tvs , Computers, admitting they are locked up,, We need to be tougher on killings, and less prison sentences for Tv license non payment, rates and benefit fraud and silly theft and divorce problems and motoring offenses Time to get real Thu 09 Sep 2010 19:21:09 GMT+1 Charles Hanson http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=84#comment303 Why oh why have we had on this forum so many barrack room lawyers who intrerpret the law about murder and manslaughter in a simple layman's terms (and ignorance of the law and misguided at that) that murder is an intent to kill but manslaughter is unintentional.This is absolute rubbish.For the Crown to prove murder they only have to prove that there was an intent to cause serious BODILY INJURY (from which the victim died). They DO NOT HAVE TO PROVE there was an intent to kill or that there was any premeditation. That is the law.So an intent to kill or premeditation is not a pre-requisite of the prosecution in a murder case although of course if the element of proven intent is there it would certainly make it easier to convict.Manslaughter is not the unintentional killing of another person. Its not as simple as that.A defendant could have killed someone with absoloute intent and premeditation and be convicted of manslaughter because of diminished responsibility. The intent was there but the defendant at the time was suffering from an abnormality of mind. The case of Tony Martin who in 1999 received a life sentence for murder having shot and killed a buglar was clearly an intent at least of causing serious injury and he went over the top according to the law so murder and a life sentence (later reduced to manslaughter on appeal after a lot of campaigning). The intent again was there and if not to kill certainly to cause in a reckless way serious injury from which death could ensue as it did. Again the intent was there but it became manslaughter.A mercy killing which is clearly one of intent to murder often results in a manslaughter conviction and again the full intent to kill was there. A defendant charged with murder who has killed his next door neighbour for example with full intent and premediation after having suffered provocation which no reasonable person would endure and he has psychiatric evidence etc to support his defence can be convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter even though there was an intent to kill.So for all of you who have tunnel vision about murder and manslaughter, intent and not intentional please take note that your understanding of the law is both misguided and inaccurate.A case is due to be heard at the Old Bailey in the near future of 20 young people all charged with murder and yet only one or two of them are alleged to have inflicted any injury on another young person on Victoria Station. This was a gang related crime but because all 20 were present all could get life with most just having been there and not having done a thing or being aware that a knife was going to be used less still that someone was going to be stabbed and killed.The law is messy and it doesn't help the debate to have people post comments on this forum which clearly displays an ignornce of the law. Thu 09 Sep 2010 18:58:11 GMT+1 Fred Bloggs http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=84#comment302 Hmmm... tricky one this, well the death penalty is cheaper if adopting the Chinese or Russian method, life imprisonment deprives of liberty but provides free housing and food with varied levels of medical care or education. Mistakes are made and Law isn't about Justice, it's about interpreting the rules based on precedents. Still with the abundance of reality T.V shows maybe trial by audience would be a possible next step, ring 0845 911 1201 if you think murder 1st degree, 0845 911 1202 2nd degree, 0845 911 1203 for guilty but really cute to look at, 0845 911 1204 for manslaughter as in "Ok I was mad enough to want to kill them but I didn't think they'd actually die" , or 0845 911 1205 for "Ooooooops!". Thu 09 Sep 2010 17:41:21 GMT+1 Steve Edwards http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=84#comment301 Why do we have to become even more like the US? We already have the ridiculous 'Supreme Court' which replaced a perfectly good system for the sake of it.No, whay we need is for sentencing to actually mean something. Removing Capital Punishment was a bad move. Life has to mean 'the rest of your life', as a reduction from execution.Drunk driving should also attract a life sentence if someone is killed.========================I've never understood why someone who kills whilst drunk driving should incur a greater sentence that someone who is convicted of drunk driving without killing anyone. The difference is purely one of chance. And was abolition a bad move when the Birmingham 6 were found not to have been murderers after all? Thu 09 Sep 2010 17:06:10 GMT+1 Hilda Williams http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=83#comment300 if a group of people are poisoned by industrial waste and die what punishment would a jury and judge favour to punish the guilty ones? Thu 09 Sep 2010 16:57:45 GMT+1 Steve Edwards http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=83#comment299 8. At 09:01am on 08 Sep 2010, Beige Rage wrote:Murder is murder.Have this government gone soft on criminals ? It would appear so.==========================================Is a mercy killing as bad as say a Raoul Moat type execution or the murder of a child after a sexual assault? All are Murder (except possibly the latter) in that they are premeditated acts of killing. But creating different classes will just serve to make the whole issue more unworkable. What's needed is sentencing discretion on the part of the judge or (better still) a panel of judges and laymen. Thu 09 Sep 2010 16:53:04 GMT+1 Total Mass Retain http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=83#comment298 289. At 2:20pm on 09 Sep 2010, BB wrote:It sounds like your second friend really should have sought legal advise before "turning himself" in. By doing so he may well have got off with a lesser offense or none at all. Thu 09 Sep 2010 16:50:22 GMT+1 Susan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=82#comment297 # 292 Andy, You're right, I don't know whether the prosecution or defence was sloppy - hence my questioning it.Blimey - that's a tall order to go back over that list of people to decide who I'd feel confident in sending to the gallows. Such a piece of investigative work would take years, as I'm sure there are reams of evidence to plough through.I forgot to add in my previous answer what I'd say to the families when it was subsequently found that they were innocent - I'd likely tell them to sue their lawyers.Despite my personal view on the bringing back of capital punishment, I would not find such a solution in the least cheerful - rather, hopefully a deterrent. Thu 09 Sep 2010 16:06:39 GMT+1 GorraSay http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=82#comment296 In my view you either intended to kill someone or you did not which is what the law of Murder and Manslaughter were about for all these years.. England always follows the USA but why I do not know.There maybe should be a difference between plain cold blooded murder where someone kills another such as a child abducter / killer as opposed to a murder say where man and woman kill one or the other during an argument in the home or say two boys fight one another and one dies but cold blooded murder where murderers seek a victime out to kill as such should be treated differently and maybe we should hang them as well if conclusive evidence is there and guilt is clear.Manslaughter really is the accidental unintentional killing of another. Plea bargaining has been in the British Justice system for years especailly with GBH/ABH assult charges and the like (offences against the person act) so it will not be a new thing to have plea bargaining anyways. Thu 09 Sep 2010 16:00:10 GMT+1 matt-stone http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=82#comment295 I certainly agree murder laws should be amended. In view of the lenient sentencing being meted out these days by the courts, I suggest that instead of locking up criminals, we lock up lenient judges and magistrates in their place and chuck away the keys !! Thu 09 Sep 2010 14:21:30 GMT+1 Glenn Willis http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=82#comment294 This post has been Removed Thu 09 Sep 2010 13:45:45 GMT+1 CheSparticus http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=81#comment293 the fact is murders are the least likey to reofend of all criminals in most cases the sentences are too long becuse they are punative rather than preventative.lesser degrees of murder how evere could lead people who have acted in self defence being acused of a lesser degree of murder rather than being aquited of full murder thus putting a tax of however many years in prison on hose who defend them selves and who could not have been sucsesefuly acused of murder. Thu 09 Sep 2010 13:43:59 GMT+1 Charles Hanson http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=81#comment292 To Wiggles Bottomley posting 264, no! I am not on any high horse and yes you have been in prison you claim but to serve a life sentence? I did which should place me in a better position to comment on this issue and see through the mob mentality and mine was not intentional. I have seen so many inaccuracies, misinformation, downright fantasies and errors about murder manslaughter and life sentences on these postings that I thnk any lawyer would be highly amused for what is being written bears no relationship to reality.For those who believe in a eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth the logical conclusion to such a postion is that if I rape your wife, you rape mine and if I burn your house down you too burn mine down.I would suggest that many of the posters on this issue read some law books and discover that you can INTENTIONALLY kill someone and be quite legally convicted of manslaughter (diminshed responsibility, provocation and self-defence and the vary rare guilty but insane for which one would not be given a life sentence). You can also be someone who was around when a killing occured and be convicted of murder. That is called joint enterprise.It's not clear what prisons Wigglesbottomley was in or how long for but he like many others bang the same old drum, killers and rapists live in luxury and are soon released. What prison might that be I should ask for prisoners inside now would be queuing up to go there and I would be quite happy to pass on the details.In my 15 years in prison I saw nothing of what he describes or indeed many of the other posters who seem to have this vision that murderers serve no time at all hardly and live in comfort.It could be worse than bringing in degrees of murder we could follow the only countries in Europe which do not have the life sentence, Spain,Portugal and Norway.Mine is not a high horse but a suggestion that if anyone is interested to look up the Annual Report of the Parole Board and see how many lifers applied for parole and how many actually got it. You will be surprised for its nothing like what I have been reading on this forum.Also look up the various Probation Reports etc. and really discover what criteria a lifer has to fulfill before he can ever be considered for release.Armed with facts instead of fantasy might help the debate. Thu 09 Sep 2010 13:35:08 GMT+1 AndyC555 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=81#comment291 281 - "Also, of your substantial list, am I to believe that every defence/prosecution lawyer involved presented extremely sloppy, inaccurate evidence? Perhaps they should be doing 'time' inside themselves, along with Judges and Juries associated.Anyway, for those proven beyond any doubt whatsoever, I still say, bring back hanging."The people on my list WERE 'proven' to be guilty of murder. There is no 'beyond any reasonable doubt whatsoever' test, it's 'beyond a reasonable doubt' and all of those people were found guilty on those grounds. Was the prosecution or defence sloppy? I don't know. Neither do you. Go back over that list in my post and tell me which ones you wouldn't have been confident about sending to the gallows at the time. There was no doubt about their guilt at the time and you'd have cheerfully hung them all.So, as I asked, what would you say to the families when it was subsequently found that they were innocent? Thu 09 Sep 2010 13:23:00 GMT+1 Adam P http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=81#comment290 Forget grading; there are far more pressing issues to be dealt with in current sentencing. At present, murderers are recieving as few as 12 years imprisonment for their hainous and dispicable crimes. If this new system focuses on increasing the sentences of the 'worst murderers', all well and good. However, the danger lies in the possibility that even more limp and unreflective sentences could be dispensed to criminals considered to be 'not quite so bad'. My advise would be as follows: focus on increasing the sentences of scum-bag murderers being handed dusgustingly low periods of imprisonment before focusing on a grading system that could potentially do more harm than good. Thu 09 Sep 2010 13:22:54 GMT+1 Glenn Willis http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=80#comment289 Yep! And the murder of two-faced judges & politicians should have the same penalty as that of jaywalking, a crime that has been shelved, in favour of driving without due care & attention! Thu 09 Sep 2010 13:20:16 GMT+1 BB http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=80#comment288 When I was 14 years old, a friend of mine was killed on her way to school one morning. The driver of the car that hit her - knocking her from the pavement, over a 5-foot wall and down a 30-foot drop the other side - was speeding. Just before he hit her he came round a corner too fast, almost hit another car, and in swerving to avoid that car, hit my friend. Having hit her, he continued in to work, sat down at his desk, and remained there saying nothing to anyone until the police tracked him down (I know this because he happened to work in the same place as my father). My friend died from severe head injuries in the ambulance. Her best friend witnessed the whole thing and was deeply traumatised for a long time afterwards. In court, the judge advised that he could not take into account the fact that the driver had been driving too fast - even though he had broken the speed limit by around 20 miles an hour, and it was this reckless driving that caused him to swerve and hit her in the first place. The driver was given a sentence of 240 hours of community service.Around 10 years later, a friend of mine was on his way home atfer a night out. For some reason best known to himself, some random person decided to start having a go at him. First he shouted abuse at him, then he started poking him. Every time, my friend turned around and told this guy where to get off, but kept walking away. It was only when this person actually attacked him that he turned around, told him one last time to leave him alone, and pushed him, causing him to stumble and fall backwards. Relieved to have got rid of the guy, my friend walked home. The next morning, he heard on the local radio that a man had been found unconscious in the same spot where this altercation had taken place. This man had fallen backwards (which my friend saw) and also (which my friend didn't see) smacked his head on a stone doorstep, knocking him unconscious and damaging his skull. My friend immediately contacted the police to say that he thought he was involved, and to explain what had taken place the night before. He was convicted of GBH without intent, and served 10 months in prison. Where is the justice in these cases? How can someone who takes a young girl's life in a hit and run incident due to a complete lack of regard for the law, and who goes to work and behaves completely normally get a lighter sentence than someone who accidentally injured someone - especially as it was that person who started the confrontation in the first place - and still turned themselves in? If you ask me, it is the sentencing that needs to be looked at and not how we define crimes. Thu 09 Sep 2010 13:20:11 GMT+1 Total Mass Retain http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=80#comment287 268. At 12:34pm on 09 Sep 2010, zeth wrote:our justice system is the laughing stock of the world, life usually means 14 years but your out after 7 years for 'good behaviour' you can call the new murder categories murder 1, 2, 3, 4 or whatever you like,but until you get the stupid judges to actually engage their brain and give someone the proper years inside with no chance of early release for good behaviour NOTHING WILL CHANGE its pathetic!I think the rest of the world has much better things to do than find things to laugh at the UK about!For those who do look at other systems of justice one tends to find that the Dutch and Scandinavian systems give more "lenient" sentences than the UK for similar crimes and keep convicted criminals in more congenial surroundings yet appear to have lower crime rates than the UK. Yet the USA, in which many states have systems of justice that are more vengeful and tougher, tends to have higher crime rates. Thu 09 Sep 2010 13:17:40 GMT+1 Davy G http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=79#comment286 The defence of a murder charge is already a quagmire with lawyers running rings around judges and jurys. Please don't let us fall into a trap like the ''American System'' where trials go on for many weeks and then they revert to plea barganing. Murder with intent is murder. Death caused any other way is Manslaughter. The only people to benifit in any way from this change will be fat-cat lawyers,certainly not the accused or the general public. Thu 09 Sep 2010 13:10:23 GMT+1 barryp http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=79#comment285 Over the years I attended many serious assaults, many in which weapons were used and many where there was recklessness by the assailant as to the wellbeing of the victim. In so many instances the ONLY difference between Murder and Common assault was a lucky victim, quite often the only reason there was no murder was thanks to the skills of the Ambulance crews and Medical Profession in general. The result is that most potential murderers are only charges with a minor offence, or even when charged with a serious offence are dealt with by a derisory sentence. AS an example I once arrested a man who has stuck a knife deeply into his wife, missing her heart by a few mm. It was only luck that kept her alive, and luck that resulted in a 'Conditional Discharge' for the assailant. Another example of the stupidity of the current law, a young man had a fight in the town centre, went home and collected a shotgun, then shot and killed a young man who had nothing to do with the original altercation. The stupid Jury found him guilty of 'Manslaughter', better known as Man's Laughter! A cold blooded murderer got 3 years.Any review of the Laws must include a ramping up of punishments to reflect the intention of the assailant, with MANDATORY punishments for carry and using a weapon, pre-planning of the offence, in furtherance of another crime, etc. In spite of the dream world in which in which the DPP lives, I would bet that the majority of the Public are dissatisfied with the Court System. Time for the DPP to work for the Public and not for Private pressure groups. Thu 09 Sep 2010 13:02:16 GMT+1 Val http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=79#comment284 So, this is the law as I understand it:Murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence, is committed when one person unlawfully kills another with an intention either to kill or to do serious harm.By contrast, manslaughter can be committed in one of four ways:1. killing by conduct that the perpetrator knew involved a risk of killing or causing serious harm (‘reckless manslaughter’);2. killing by through grossly negligent conduct given the risk of killing (‘gross negligence manslaughter’);3. killing by through an unlawful act involving a danger of some harm to the person (‘unlawful act manslaughter’);4. killing with the intent to murder but where a partial defence applies, such as provocation, diminished responsibility or suicide pact.Types (1) to (3) are usually termed ‘involuntary manslaughter’ while (4) is referred to as ‘voluntary manslaughter’.From what I can see, here are the problems with these offences:1. The serious harm ruleUnder the current law, a person is liable for murder not only if he or she kills intentionally, but also if he or she kills while intentionally inflicting harm which the jury considers to have been serious. The result is that the offence of murder is too wide. Even someone who reasonably believed that no one would be killed by their conduct, and that the harm they were intentionally inflicting was not serious (e.g. punching someone in the nose), can find themselves placed in the same offence category as the contract or serial killer. The inclusion of all intent-to-do-serious-harm cases within murder also distorts the sentencing process for murder. The fact that an offender only intended to do serious harm, rather than kill, is currently regarded as a mitigating factor that justifies the setting of a shorter initial custodial period as part of the mandatory life sentence. At first glance, this seems perfectly reasonable. However, there is a strong case for saying that when an offence carries a mandatory sentence, there should be NO scope for finding mitigation in the way in which the basic or essential fault elements come to be fulfilled. Mandatory is mandatory – why water it down with mitigation? Why not have some lesser conviction?Research has shown that the public assumes that murder involves an intention to kill or its moral equivalent, namely a total disregard for human life. The latter may not be evident in a case where someone has intentionally inflicted harm the jury regards as serious, as when someone intentionally breaks someone else’s nose. Indeed, some members of the public regarded deaths caused by intentionally inflicted harm that was not inherently life threatening as being in some sense “accidental”.Having said that, I do not think that killing through an intention to do serious injury should simply be regarded as manslaughter. Manslaughter is an inadequate label for a killing committed with that degree of culpability. In addition, to further expand the law of manslaughter would be wrong because manslaughter is already a very broad offence.I think that the intent-to-do-serious-injury cases should be divided into two. Cases where a person not only intended to do serious injury but also was aware that his or her conduct posed a serious risk of death should continue to fall within the highest category or top tier offence. This is warranted by the kind of total disregard for human life that a perpetrator might show. They are morally equivalent to cases of intentional killing. Cases where a person intended to do serious injury but was unaware of a serious risk of killing should fall (along with some instances of reckless killing) into a new middle tier homicide offence.2. Reckless manslaughterWhere the scope of murder is too narrow, the scope of manslaughter is correspondingly too broad. That is, the law is too generous to some who kill by ‘reckless’ conduct, that is those who do not intend to cause serious harm but do realise that their conduct involves an unjustified risk of causing death. The law is too generous in treating all those who realise that their conduct poses a risk of causing death but press on regardless as guilty only of manslaughter. When the Homicide Act 1957 was passed, it was still accepted by both Parliament and by the courts that the archaic language of ‘malice aforethought’ governed the fault element in murder. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a very loose term. Parliament considered it to mean that malice aforethought could not be established without someone being proven to have at least been aware that the harm done was life threatening, and passed the law on this basis. However, after the law was passed, the Court of Appeal indicated that proof of awareness of one’s actions was not required, and that simply the intent to kill or cause serious harm would suffice as proof of malice aforethought. In other words, someone who threw rocks off an overpass, but tried to get drivers’ attention first, would be put in the same league as someone who threw rocks on an overpass without warning.In the ensuing debates, what has emerged is that murder no longer includes killing by reckless risk-taking, as such, however heinous the killing. Such killings, although they can be encompassed by the woolly language of “malice aforethought”, are not intentional. Consequently, from 1985 onwards, the “thoughtful” rock-thrower described above could no longer be guilty of murder because he or she did not intend to kill or to cause serious injury. He or she could only be guilty of (reckless) manslaughter.It is my opinion that the “thoughtful” rock thrower should be guilty of a homicide offence more serious than manslaughter, because in this case the culpability of the offender is so high that a manslaughter verdict is an inadequate label for the offence.3. The ‘two category’ structure of general homicide offencesThe distinction between murder and manslaughter is over 500 years old, and no more general category of homicide has been developed. So, over the centuries, the two categories of murder and manslaughter have had to accommodate changing and deepening understandings of the nature and degree of criminal fault and the emergence of new types of defences. They have also had to satisfy demands that labelling and sentencing should be sensible and just.Also, the mandatory life sentence for murderers has meant that the argument over who should be labelled a ‘murderer’ has become identified with who should receive the mandatory sentence for murder. Whilst in some respects understandable, the link with sentencing can distort the argument about labels. For example, you could argue that, although a person who kills intentionally in response to gross provocation may not deserve a mandatory sentence, he or she should still be labelled a ‘murderer’.In this light, it makes sense to have some intermediate category, such that “first degree murder” (or whatever it ended up being called) could encompass intentional killing; or killing through an intention to do serious injury with an awareness of a serious risk of causing death. The intermediate category could encompass killing through an intention to do serious injury (even without an awareness of a serious risk of causing death); or killing where there was an awareness of a serious risk of causing death, coupled with an intention to cause either some injury, a fear of injury, or a risk of injury. This category of murder could also be the result when a defence of provocation, diminished responsibility or suicide pact is successfully pleaded to the highest-level offence.Finally, manslaughter could encompass a death caused by a criminal act intended to cause injury, or where the offender was aware that the criminal act involved a serious risk of causing injury, or where there was gross negligence as to causing death. Thu 09 Sep 2010 12:44:25 GMT+1 Mr Max http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=79#comment283 "157. At 3:10pm on 08 Sep 2010, MrWonderfulReality wrote:(regarding mistakes with the death penalty) What if an earthquake was to kill thousands and thousands of innocent people, or a tsunami was to drown thousands of innocent people, something begining with S and ending in T, happens.The actual rate of mistakes would be so low, barely exsistance, especially if we had a death row type thing, to enable a few years for any further investigation.The thing to do is if evidence was a set up, to also execute those responsible, which I think will go a long way to preventing such an outcome."This is an argument that I've never understood. The killing of an innocent person by a criminal is so abhorrent that the death penalty must be used. If it kills an innocent person, then it's ok as mistakes happen. One killing is vile while the other is fine? Doesn't make sense.Additionally to suggest that errors would be so low that they're barely in existance is, at best, extremely naive. To say that errors are barely in existance is to say that our justice system is both just shy of perfect and we will never either discover new forensic techniques nor will any current methods become redundant.I think too many people are letting vitriol over evil-doers cloud their judgement. Thu 09 Sep 2010 12:43:27 GMT+1 kevthebrit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=78#comment282 The world is NUTS! An oil spill and the world is tuned on it's head with evry one screaming revenge.A MURDER? Yep! What ever!LIFE is SO cheap! Just as long as it's NOT your OWN! Thu 09 Sep 2010 12:42:47 GMT+1 Hilda Williams http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=78#comment281 the age in which we live is a flattered life style of cream puffs and fast cars,shiney kitchens and cut grass lawns,car park drive ways in houses too expensive to be called a home while people that live in them are knee deep in mind and body about the concerns of who would benefit from the hang man's noose after a murder is committed of some innocent person.The hang man was sacked a long time ago and juries look for reasons to find the guilty person liable for sentence,to be jailed,to be incarcerated,to be put away for a term of years, distinguished by the loyal order of law makers,for a qualified period of years or for lifedepending on how or why a murder was committed, after a lengthy trial, at a cost of the price of a house and a great deal more in some cases. Thu 09 Sep 2010 12:40:45 GMT+1 Susan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=78#comment280 To # 250 - AndyC555Andy, I appreciate your point on people subsequently being found innocent of crimes for which they were convicted. It begs the question, are the guilty perpetrators still roaming in our midst? Also, of your substantial list, am I to believe that every defence/prosecution lawyer involved presented extremely sloppy, inaccurate evidence? Perhaps they should be doing 'time' inside themselves, along with Judges and Juries associated.Anyway, for those proven beyond any doubt whatsoever, I still say, bring back hanging. Thu 09 Sep 2010 12:36:57 GMT+1 Paul http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=77#comment279 At the moment we have 'murder' or 'manslaughter'. On the face of it this covers all eventualities, but there are always grey areas. So, having multiple 'levels' of murder indictments MAY help.For instance, if someone assists the desired suicide of someone, is that murder or manslaughter - there is definitely 'planning' involved, so it should be murder, but it could be seen as helping someone, not harming someone, so does it deserve the same sentence as someone who goes on the rampage in a shopping centre with an axe?Basically, in my view, if we have mandated sentences for murder, then we should have "levels" of 'murder', so there can be different sentences for different severity. If judges have more freedom to hand out suitable sentences, then we may be able to get away without the different levels. Thu 09 Sep 2010 12:36:50 GMT+1 LancashireLass http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=77#comment278 Could this mean that murderers serve even less time for their crimes? As it certainly doesn't sound like they will serve more.I do deal with people who are out after quite a short time - even though their sentence is longer.The continual downgrading of cases to 'manslaughter' is a disgrace. We should be applying the letter of the laws we already have. Thu 09 Sep 2010 12:31:30 GMT+1 Total Mass Retain http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=77#comment277 274. At 1:02pm on 09 Sep 2010, D G Cullum wrote:Lord Falconer is a very good friend of Blair so what he says is what Blair would say murder is when you set out to kill that person and do it but when do it by accident its manslaughter are we going along the road to bring back the death penalty? After all we are following the USA into hell on other things and the leaders and their mates are kissers of the USA laws well those what are cruel and unjust. Lord Lucian killed his children's nanny and were was he taken not to prison but to some Freemason's home abroad and is still there if he is alive why because he is a cousin of the Queen and she can kill whom she likes as the laws of this land are to protect her and her family why she was not voted in but kept there to protect those who rule the aristocracy who are born into this life. What Falconer is talking about is laws for us but not for the likes of him or other war criminals like his flat mate. It's well known that Lord Lucan is a regular at the bar Elvis runs just outside Area 51. Saddam Hussein, Lady Di, Jimmy Hoffa and others are regulars there too. Thu 09 Sep 2010 12:31:19 GMT+1 Richard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=77#comment276 er don't we do that already? I.e manslaughter is killing someone while not specifically planning to and Murder is when you set out to kill someone and do it.Or is it that we are in fact a US state and no one has bothered to tell the public?given the appalling mess of the US legal and penal systems shouldn't we be trying to do as many things as possible different and not copy a system which is younger and worse than our own.why oh why do we copy the Americans so much, they are not a good role model, being aggressive and self centred not to mention ignorant of others is a really bad thing to try an emulate. so what if they have good films and music we can still enjoy them without trying to be them. Thu 09 Sep 2010 12:30:10 GMT+1 windblown http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=76#comment275 A more sensitive and well defined system of crimes and sentences is certainly required. Without making things too complex a 1st, 2nd, 3rd degree murder and then manslaughter system could work. The 3rd degree could be for those who did not commit the act, but deliberately made it possible or more likely. The latter crime could be applied to those who incite the violence from afar or from a pulpit. The first 2 degrees could be to differentiate on motive, pre-meditation and cruelty lines between those who actually committed the act. First degree should carry a statutory life , (meaning life), sentence whilst the others should have provision for a wide range of discretion for judges up to life sentence. Thu 09 Sep 2010 12:20:13 GMT+1 Total Mass Retain http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=76#comment274 270. At 12:43pm on 09 Sep 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:THANK YOU post #260 @10:10am on 09 Sept 'Rupert Smyth'.Your kind response to 'Total Mass Retain' is welcome.Having read all posts by 'TMR' and 'TMR' quotes included from other posts, my concerns were with that poster and I was in the process of responding in a good and fair response too?To: 'Total Mass Retain'. Whatever your concerns you have posted on this HYS murder law debate - feelings are always high as murder victims are of all ages, and come from all sections of society - as do murderers of all ages and backgrounds too.The best recourse is to make your concerns clear to your political representative in your area. If you have not voted, or feel disengaged then write directly to the current Minister for Justice? As you have access to the internet - you will find Ken Clark MP QC is the Minister - so write or emal? Writing a letter may seem to be too much trouble today - but everyone should write to their Representative in Parliament - but always keep a copy? Thank you, but I am fully aware of the means I have to contact my elected representatives. Maybe we can make a response to all HYSers "if you don't like it contact your MP", which would make nonsense of a blog such as this.However, it is not me that is seeking to impose stronger penalties on murderers and reduce the differentiation between different types of killings. The law already recognises different penalties (or "tarifs") for murder dependent upon intnet, means, premeditation etc which (if I read your contributions correctly) you wish to remove the discretion to take account of such considerations. If you disagree with this situation it is you that should contact your elected representative. Thu 09 Sep 2010 12:15:39 GMT+1 D G Cullum http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=76#comment273 Lord Falconer is a very good friend of Blair so what he says is what Blair would say murder is when you set out to kill that person and do it but when do it by accident its manslaughter are we going along the road to bring back the death penalty? After all we are following the USA into hell on other things and the leaders and their mates are kissers of the USA laws well those what are cruel and unjust. Lord Lucian killed his children's nanny and were was he taken not to prison but to some Freemason's home abroad and is still there if he is alive why because he is a cousin of the Queen and she can kill whom she likes as the laws of this land are to protect her and her family why she was not voted in but kept there to protect those who rule the aristocracy who are born into this life. What Falconer is talking about is laws for us but not for the likes of him or other war criminals like his flat mate. Thu 09 Sep 2010 12:02:53 GMT+1 pandatank http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=75#comment272 #7. smilingparrotfan wrote:"Yes, we should have different degrees of murder charges. This does mean that it will be hard for juries to ascribe various degrees of culpability. Perhaps almost impossible when there are several gang members involved. It may be as a deterrent to young people who act in a baying mob. But we also need to do a great deal more to dissuade so many of our youngsters from joining gangs in the first place. And this is a whole new debate."We have adequate manslaughter laws to deal with this, if they didn't do the actual eg. stabbing, their contributory negligence caused the victims death. Thu 09 Sep 2010 12:01:51 GMT+1 Total Mass Retain http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=75#comment271 260. At 11:27am on 09 Sep 2010, Rupert Smyth wrote:253. At 10:10am on 09 Sep 2010, Total Mass Retain wrote:For those that would wish to treat motoring deaths as murder, they should ask themselves if they should suffer the same consequences resulting from a death caused by a moments inattention as someone who deliberately intends to kill someone in a violent, premeditated manner.--------------------------------------------------A very good point but motoring deaths have different causes. There is a world of difference between somebody doing something stupid like looking at a map for a second and somebody who steals a car then drives it at reckless speeds to get away from the police and as a result knocks somebody down and kills them.I guess the same would apply to murder where each case might be very different. The whole point of having judges however should surely be that if a person is found guilty they can take these individual circumstances into account when determining what a persons sentence should be.Yes, but that is precisely my point. The "hang 'em high" crowd on here seem incapable of distinguishing between different intents, causes and consequences of killings and would hang, or imprison for life, anyone that causes a death of any kind. In such scenarios they might be the one who looks at a map at the wrong time and causes a death. It may not be them but someone they know and care about.Where would some who intentionally uses a mobile phone whilst driving whose actions result in a death be on this scale? Thu 09 Sep 2010 12:00:58 GMT+1 europhile http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=75#comment270 Yes, of course this is a no-brainer!There is a significant difference between say crime of passion and sheer cold blooded killing. Thu 09 Sep 2010 11:59:53 GMT+1 corum-populo-2010 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=75#comment269 THANK YOU post #260 @10:10am on 09 Sept 'Rupert Smyth'.Your kind response to 'Total Mass Retain' is welcome.Having read all posts by 'TMR' and 'TMR' quotes included from other posts, my concerns were with that poster and I was in the process of responding in a good and fair response too?To: 'Total Mass Retain'. Whatever your concerns you have posted on this HYS murder law debate - feelings are always high as murder victims are of all ages, and come from all sections of society - as do murderers of all ages and backgrounds too.The best recourse is to make your concerns clear to your political representative in your area. If you have not voted, or feel disengaged then write directly to the current Minister for Justice? As you have access to the internet - you will find Ken Clark MP QC is the Minister - so write or emal? Writing a letter may seem to be too much trouble today - but everyone should write to their Representative in Parliament - but always keep a copy? Thu 09 Sep 2010 11:43:21 GMT+1 anotherfakename http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=74#comment268 They can do what they like with the law. While you have senile idiot judges giving murderers and rapists a couple of years, which will be reduced to a few months by 'parole' at the same time as giving grannies that can't pay their council tax longer 'in clink' the law will be viewed as an ass. If there are genuine reasons why the murder was unavoidable, or real doubts as to whether the rape was rape then the judge can explain himself and maybe the charge should be dropped, otherwise its time life meant life and that was that. Thu 09 Sep 2010 11:38:31 GMT+1 zeth http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=74#comment267 our justice system is the laughing stock of the world, life usually means 14 years but your out after 7 years for 'good behaviour' you can call the new murder categories murder 1, 2, 3, 4 or whatever you like,but until you get the stupid judges to actually engage their brain and give someone the proper years inside with no chance of early release for good behaviour NOTHING WILL CHANGE its pathetic! Thu 09 Sep 2010 11:34:22 GMT+1 Total Mass Retain http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=74#comment266 182. At 5:08pm on 08 Sep 2010, shrekscousin wrote:Where a human being acts like an animal then they should be treated like an animal and put down. I am always sickened by the amount of violent people who have served a cushy, and reduced, sentence for murder or really heinous violent crime who then get back out onto the streets and do it again. It's human rights that needs looked at as right now the people who benefit most from it are those who least deserve it! Humans Rights are unalienable rights that derive from being a human not from any other qualifications. They are not earned nor can they be lost or repudiated by behaviour. They are there to protect all of us, "good" and "bad" from the arbitrary power of the state such as imprisonment without due process or of cruel and unusual punishments. If you object to certain peopel or groups having human rights then what is to prevent another group deciding you don't deserve them for some totally ridiculous reason?We tip our caps to these animals most of whom destroy or take away what could be the life of someone who otherwise would have made a very good contribution to society, then we pay hundred’s of thousands of pound per year for their upkeep and attempted rehabilitation when the money could be better spent, for example, ensuring that old people are warm in winter or indeed putting it back into improving policing and detection even more.Yes, this is because we claim to uphold civilised behaviour.There have been numerous cases where hanging them would not have bothered me at all. For example, the Jamie Bulger killers, the killers of little Holly and Jessica, the animalistic killing of Steven Laurence to name but a few.The Bulger killers were 10 at the time. Not even Texas executes 10 year olds. No country that purports to be civilised executes children. And all this rubbish about jury’s not getting to be made aware of a persons past as it may prejudice their verdict – as far as I am concerned if the person in the dock has a history of animalistic, violent and terrorising behaviour then sod it, if it includes murder or rape or any other such behaviour then put a bullet through their heads and let decent people know that it’s one less bit of trash to worry about!What you advocate is the justice of the lynch mob based purely on past behaviour (or some other arbitrary irrelevance) rather than evidence of current behaviour.But we can’t – as these animals know that even if they do murder and mutilate – they are safe – they will still live!!This is one of the attributes of a civilised society. If you don't like it I would recommend you moving to countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, China, Burma. You might find Texas more up your street too, but even there they don't do any of the things you advocate. Thu 09 Sep 2010 11:28:53 GMT+1 Martin Hollands http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=74#comment265 If it gives the judiciary better ways to sentence serious criminals and allows the Jury to convict more appropriately then why not.Let us try it for a number of years, if it doesn't work it can always be scrapped after all. Thu 09 Sep 2010 11:21:38 GMT+1 corum-populo-2010 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=73#comment264 To my knowledge, very few murderers are given whole life sentences by the Criminal Justice System in UK? The dichotomy is that death by dangerous/careless or intoxicated driving is confused right now?If you kill someone with use of your own body, without a weapon, then that is either murder/manslaughter? In the 1960s if you crashed a car and a passenger in that car died - then the driver went to a high security prison for manslaughter for a minimum of 15 years?If you kill someone with a knife, gun or by any means today - that is still murder?The list is endless for murder - the issue with with murder, is it's not always by intent, but is murder nevertheless? If there is a case for manslaughter - then fair enough - manslaughter is still a huge crime and should never be underestimated either by pathetic sentencing by judges today.In conclusion, our family watched Crimewatch last night on BBC - the most interesting aspect of criminals prosecuted was that armed robbers get longer imprisonment than murderers? Thu 09 Sep 2010 11:09:22 GMT+1 Wiggles Bottomley http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=73#comment263 Charles Hanson should get off his high horse. Just because he's been in prison doesnt make him an expert. Ive been in prison and seen child killers, rapists and drug dealers walk free without serving anything close to there original lenient sentence. Also miscarriages of justice very rare. The cps would sooner see a criminal, especially murderers, walk free unless theres a near 100% guarantee he.she's guilty. The way he goes on about it you'd think everyone in prison was innocent. Thu 09 Sep 2010 10:49:09 GMT+1 Count Otto Black http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=73#comment262 I'm all for each case being judged on its own merits. I don't believe there should be minimum or maximum sentences for anything, merely 'guidelines'. I think a court needs the freedom to be able to take any and all extenuating circumstances into account when it comes to sentencing.A cold-blooded killer - who has perhaps tortured the victim along the way - should not have the length of his sentence restricted by 'technicalities'. If the court wants to jail him for 60 years then it should be able to. Likewise, there may be circumstances (although I admit I can't think of one off-hand) where someone who's technically guilty of murder should walk free.I also believe the jury should have some say in sentencing rather than just the judge (and whoever sets the tariffs - the government probably). Thu 09 Sep 2010 10:48:23 GMT+1 FrankandTomsDad http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=72#comment261 This has turned into a debate about the death penalty, which isn't what the subject matter is.the death penalty (DP) would have no bearing on a change of law for categorising murder. All that would happen is that Murder 1 would attract the DP, if the judge felt it appropriate. Which could mean you would hardly ever get a conviction on Murder 1, due to the consequences; that would make a mockery of it.In any case, the ECHR (Human Rights) only really permits the DP in times of war (Protocol 6), so it would be breaking the law to reintroduce it for murder. Thu 09 Sep 2010 10:37:25 GMT+1 doilookthatsilly http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=72#comment260 Yes to changes - 1st degree murder to carry a mandatory death sentence, 2nd degree to have a mandatory minimum sentence of -say- 10 years. Sentences to be served in full - no parole, no remission.This may make a lot of offenders think twice before offending, those that don't would then deserve all they got. Thu 09 Sep 2010 10:27:45 GMT+1 Rupert Smyth http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=72#comment259 253. At 10:10am on 09 Sep 2010, Total Mass Retain wrote:For those that would wish to treat motoring deaths as murder, they should ask themselves if they should suffer the same consequences resulting from a death caused by a moments inattention as someone who deliberately intends to kill someone in a violent, premeditated manner.--------------------------------------------------A very good point but motoring deaths have different causes. There is a world of difference between somebody doing something stupid like looking at a map for a second and somebody who steals a car then drives it at reckless speeds to get away from the police and as a result knocks somebody down and kills them.I guess the same would apply to murder where each case might be very different. The whole point of having judges however should surely be that if a person is found guilty they can take these individual circumstances into account when determining what a persons sentence should be. Thu 09 Sep 2010 10:27:29 GMT+1 Charles Hanson http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/09/should_murder_law_be_changed.html?page=72#comment258 This forum seems to have thrown up a baying mob that I am shocked at the misinformed and ignorant descriptions on the issue of murder and liefe sentences.Prisons are cushy. Really. Have any of the commentators been in one. I have.Murderers only serve 8-10 years and they get remission. Totally false.Those convicted of murder are given a tariff ranging from a minimum of 15 years to whole life (natural life) with some degrees of murder with a starting point of 30 years.Murderers DO NOT get remission for the sentence of the court is life imprisonment and only when the tariif is served can they be CONSIDERED for release on life licence (parole). Very few lifers indeed are reeased on tariff expiry and many have served double the tariff.Not all lifers are murderers and many are in prison for other offences.Bring back the death penalty for murder?That being so, the Birmingham 6, the Guildford 4, Judith Ward, Angela Cannings, Sally Clark, Sion Jenkins, Stefan Kiszko, Stephen Downing, Sean Hodgkins, Emma Humphries, Barry George would have all been executed.Hey presto, all of these were convicted of murder and cleared on appeal with some like Kiszo and Hodgkins who had spent many years in prison and in both these cases modern DNA which cleared was used to convict the right and guilty. Remember Colin Stagg charged with the murder of Rachel Nickle but had his case thrown out by a judge after it emerged that he was the victim of police honey trap evidence. The right and guilty person Robert Napper was eventually charged and pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibilty. He is currently in Broadmoor.All of these people could have gone to the gallows had many of the correspondents to ths forum had their way.By having degrees of murder would perhaps prevent a reluctant jury convicting a defendant if they knew he or she was going to get a mandatory life sentence. Theyw ouldn't escape justice for second degree murder and a lesser penalty would be available as a disposal to the courts.Yes! the baying mob would have sent innocent people to their deaths.This is a very emotive issue but one in which the public by and large do not apply either common sense and have only a very vague idea about what the offences of murder/manslaughter and life sentences amount to. The rest comes from reading the Sun, hysterical debates at the pub and at worst word of mouth from others who too are uninformed so that the whole mob mentality becomes like a virus which does nothing to help the debate. Thu 09 Sep 2010 10:21:21 GMT+1