Tim Turner wrote:
> I don't think murderer is an emotive word, it's a word used to describe one
> person who kills another deliberately without justification.
It certainly is an /emotive/ word, but it is also a legal word. The
definitive statement of what a murderer is, is that of Lord Coke ("Cook")
A murderer is a person who "unlawfully killeth a reasonable creature
under the King's Peace with malice aforethought (Coke, Commentaries)"
This archaic language means, in modern English, someone who kills a
human being, within the jurisdiction of the Crown, intending to kill or
intending seriously to harm. Premeditation has nothing to do with it in
the British Isles.
The sentence for murder is mandatory. It must always be life
imprisonment. If you are a murderer you are NEVER released from that
sentence. You might be let out of /prison/ after you have served a
punitive element (the 'tariff', which, thank goodness is no longer
determined by politicians) AND that the rehabilitative element of your
sentence has been shown to have been served. But this is on /licence/
only. You are always still under sentence (i.e. the substitute death
penalty) for the rest of your life, and may be recalled if you commit
> see how using the word 'murderer' to describe a person who murders someone
> is one step away from bear baiting.
It isn't. (If they were imprisoned for manslaughter (which ranges from
'mere' negligence to what is classed as murder elsewhere) and you are
labelled a murderer by the press, you probably have an action for libel
. . .
> And without wishing to play devil's advocate too much, if a convicted
> criminal of any type escapes from any type of prison, I don't see how the
> Data Protection Act or Human Rights Act would prevent a police force from
> issuing a wanted poster.
Correct. It can't. The Human Rights principles to be taken into account
are necessity and proportionality.
Published a wanted poster is without doubt to be an interference with
someone's Art 8 right to privacy. But the State is allowed to interfere
with Art. 8 rights.
In fact it is authorised by Art 8(2), if "in accordance with the law and
[is] necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national
security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for
the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or
morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."
Clearly that can be no doubt at all that the capture of an absconding
prisoner, I would suggest, fulfills the test of necessity whether or not
they have been classified as a danger to the public. Neither is it
disproportionate. (There are no sledgehammers being used to crack nuts
I think that idea is ridiculous. Using wanted
> posters for unconvicted suspects has to be done with care, but
> post-conviction, I don't see a problem with using images to help catch
> criminals on the run.]
Again, correct, and the legal reasoning, I would submit is as above.
Whatever person in the Prison Service or Police who might have claimed
otherwise, is in my opinion. just being foolish, and thereby bringing
both the Human Rights Convention and the Data Protection Directive (and
the various implementing measures) into a quite unjustified opprobrium.
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