Thursday 8 December 2016

Kevin Myers: State is swayed more by evil misogynists than by us

Kevin Myers

Published 19/08/2010 | 05:00

We were given terrible lessons by Evans and Shaw, but refused to learn them... more women went missing on their old stomping grounds and the State barely noticed

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There is the usual tabloid hysteria about the case of Larry Murphy and, for once, the hysteria is entirely justified. We know that Murphy is a cold, ruthless, calculated rapist who would have murdered his victim 10 years ago if he could have. Only luck -- his -- prevented him from killing her. Had he murdered her, and then been caught, he could have got life imprisonment -- but instead he was interrupted, quite by chance. And thus, because he was guilty only of attempted murder, he was NOT eligible for life imprisonment.

This is grotesque, absurd and demented. We have a legal code that rewards incompetence or luck by making an attempted crime less serious than a successfully completed one. The mens rea -- the criminal intent -- is present in both kinds of cases; so, too is the physical willingness. So why should courts look more kindly on, say, the would-be killer whose axe broke in two before the crime was concluded? Only the arcane intricacies of lawyer-law permit the trivial distinctions between intent and result to serve as a mitigating factor in the sentence. Simply, we punish competence, and reward a rapist-killer's ineptitude or luck.

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