Seems sensible

A system of first and second degree murder could be introduced after it was revealed Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, is “sympathetic” to proposals first raised four years ago.

Just as we distinguish between manslaughter and murder.

It would also be a useful precedent for those shouting about low conviction rates for rape. Part of the reason there (and only part of it to be sure) is that juries distinguish between \”rape rape\” and what they consider to be lesser crimes. By providing for just such a distinction we would expect conviction rates to rise.

Of course, such a distinction will run straight into the brick wall of \”rape is rape\”, that political construct which insists that even while people do distinguish they should not do so.

But then these sorts of problems when political constructs meet the real world are hardly unusual, are they?

7 thoughts on “Seems sensible”

  1. It’s obviously a good idea.

    The current system means somebody who was unlucky in an unarmed drunken punch-up that the other guy provoked is nonetheless sentenced to life, will only be released once the 15 year minimum is up if he can satisfy the parole board he’s thoroughly reformed etc etc etc, and is subject to recall to prison at any time. All of which is silly.

    Meanwhile, the current guidelines mean you can’t give someone who’s actually evil like Ian Huntley a whole-life tariff, which is also silly.

  2. Good god, what’s gone wrong today? First I agree with Johann Hari on Polanski, now I find a John b comment that doesn’t make me wipe tears of mirth from my eyes…

  3. The “rape is rape” argument is self-defeating, the definition of rape includes violence, either actual or threatened, and doesn’t cover “seduction” (although “date rape” is covered as administering a drug without consent is “violence”), you have to prove violence was involved, and unless someone ends up in casualty that is difficult to do.

    Before considering a separate “seduction” charge, you’d also have to consider what the punishment would be, and it probably wont be much, as this will allow the “lesser rape” to be subject to justice, it may also permit an accused of the “greater rape” charge to get off on the “less rape” punishment.

    The same arguments apply to “murder one” and “murder two”.

  4. @johnb

    Someone under convicted under similar circumstances you describe was and is out on license was interviewed on Today. Apparently if you have led an exemplary existence after your release your parole officer can apply to the Home Office (Justice Ministry?) for you to be released from the terms of your license.

    Not sure how often this happens perhaps someone with more time could fire off an FOI?

  5. In John B’s example, it’s most unlikely that murder would be charged or convicted.
    That would almost certainly, as described, be manslaughter – so no life term.

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