Saturday, 17 July 2010

The Prerogative of Mercy

Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe will never be released from prison, a High Court judge has ruled.
An application was made by the 64-year-old to have a minimum term set to give him the chance of parole.
Many people received , with relief , the news that there will be no release for the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe.
Victims of the serial killer who had survived his attacks and the families of Peter Sutcliffe murdered victims , received the news with gratitude to the British legal system .
Sections of the society who had watched the court proceedings keenly and with bated breath were members of the public , law enforcement officers , Social Workers and other staff of the Department of Social Services.
Peter Coonan - formerly Peter Sutcliffe - is serving 20 life sentences in Broadmoor for the murders of 13 women and seven attempted murders.
Sutcliffe remains a hate figure within the Press, with much criticism of the Home Office in 2005 when it emerged he had been allowed to visit the site where his late father's ashes had been scattered.

The Yorkshire Ripper's crimes took place across the north of England between 1975 and 1980.
The murderous campaign of the then truck driver against prostitutes and young women between 1975 and 1980 sparked widespread fear until he was arrested in January 1981. He would batter women over the head with a hammer and stab them in the chest and abdomen, often mutilating them, with a knife or screwdriver.
The trial judge recommended he serve at least 30 years and he is held at Broadmoor high-security psychiatric hospital in south-east England.
Sutcliffe was never formally given a minimum term of imprisonment.
The original judge said he must serve a minimum of 30 years behind bars, a period that expires next year. The 64-year-old, now known as Peter Coonan, subsequently applied to have a minimum term set to give himself a chance of parole but the application was rejected.
In February 2009 the prime minister, Gordon Brown, said it was ''very unlikely'' Sutcliffe would be released.
The latest court attempt revolved around a medical report in November 2006 by Kevin Murray, who is treating Sutcliffe.
If verdicts of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility had been accepted by the prosecution or returned by the jury, Sutcliffe could have been sentenced to an unlimited stay in a psychiatric hospital.

At the High Court in London, Justice Mitting said he had ''no doubt'' that the appropriate term was a whole life sentence.
The ''brutality and gravity of Sutcliffe's offences speak for themselves'', he said.
The diagnoses of psychiatrists who had considered Sutcliffe's mental condition was that he was ''suffering from encapsulated paranoid schizophrenia when he committed the crimes and that his responsibility for the 13 killings was, in consequence, substantially diminished'', the judge said.

Other condemned notorious "lifers",like Sutcliffe; who had attempted to escape the constraints of incarceration through applying to the courts for amnesty or parole ; abound world wide.
Chief amongst these in the UK are :
1.John Straffen , Britain's longest serving prisoner who spent 55 continuous years in custody. Straffen died, having never been released, in Frankland prison in November 2007.
2.Myra Hindley - The other of the Moors Murderers, Ian Brady's girlfriend and accomplice who was involved in all five murders with Brady, with two murder convictions and one as an accessory.
Hindley was given a 25-year minimum term by the trial judge, which was endorsed in 1982 by the Lord Chief Justice. Reports suggested that Hindley was rehabilitating in prison and had found religion( Christianity ) and rejected Brady and her past.
Hindley subsequently made three appeals against the whole life tariff and launched a further bid for freedom in 1996 when she had served 30 years, but all her efforts were rejected and she died in jail at the age of 60 in November 2002, less than two weeks before a law lords' ruling would probably have secured her freedom.
3.Donald Neilson (1976)-The Black Panther, so-called for his penchant for wearing a black balaclava, shot dead three postmasters during robberies in various areas of the country, then abducted a 17-year-old heiress from her Shropshire home. He attempted to ransom the heiress, but her body was found two months later in a drain in Staffordshire. In 2008, Neilson lost an appeal to have his tariff reduced to 30 years.

The urge for self-preservation is strong in any living creature ; especially in homo sapiens ,in the grip of prolonged and permanent imprisonment or imminent execution.
This urge results in the audacity of the guilty to make demands on God the Father and on the State ; seeking forgiveness and pardon for their heinous crimes.
God is impressed by such requests and he desires the audacity of the sinner who admits his sins and who boldly, asks God for forgiveness.
Hebrew 4 :14-16.
With God , mercy and forgiveness are always present and they are given full and free to the repentant sinner. Proverbs 28:13 , Isaiah 1:18,19 .
God would forgive and forget ; but not so in the physical realm .
Sometimes , the State and people are not inclined to accept remorse and audacious requests for forgiveness from serial murderers.
The repentant convict could ask for mercy but with no assurance of liberty.
"With audacity one can undertake anything, but not do everything."Napoleon Bonaparte .
The Judiciary has the power to deny or grant a convict the Prerogative of Mercy.
Since the European Court of Human Rights decision, only trial judges and the High Court have had the right to decide that a killer should never be released.
In that time, there have been more than 20 reported instances of trial judges recommending that an offender should never be released.

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