(Post author Mark Jukes from BCU LD team*)
Does this quote ring any bells?
Well, to some of us familiar will remember this was the famous alleged line (although it was “Let Him Have It”), from Derek Bentley which sealed his fate at the gallows in 1953 for shooting a policeman.
Teresa Lewis died early today after being given a lethal injection at the Greensville Correctional Centre.
The first woman to be executed in Virginia since 1912,and the first in the USA for 5 years,and a woman who had a borderline mental retardation (USA terminology),with an IQ of 72 and additionally diagnosed with Dependent Personality Disorder.
In the UK, the sentence handed down to Derek Bentley in 1953 produced outrage over his execution, although he was labelled as being illiterate and of low intelligence – he wasn’t deemed as being “Feeble-minded” under the then Mental Deficiency Act. He was granted a Royal Pardon in respect of the sentence of death,and in 1998,the Court of Appeal quashed Bentley’s conviction for murder.
1. In an EU protest,the ambassador to the US wrote: “We consider the execution of people with mental disorders of all types is contrary to minimum standards of human rights”.
2. Contemporary opinion does not seem to learn from cases such as Bentley where the issue of Capacity and Aquiesence to crime is particularly of note with people who have learning disabilities.
Instead we have politicians who refuse to budge on giving a reprieve to what the rest of us consider as “unsafe” convictions.
In my opinion this flies in the face of human rights and ignores this womans vulnerabilities in the cause of ‘justice’ – I deplore this.
(* Sorry – ongoing tech problems prevent me labelling the post author correctly)