There has been much discussion about the pending execution of Troy Davis here in the United States.
I’m not familiar with the case but enough important people have put their good names on the line for me to wish the judicial system would err on the side of caution here.
Years ago, the late 80s to be precise, i got involved in a seemingly hopeless campaign to free four mass murderers from prison in the UK.
They had killed 5 people in a series of IRA pub bombings in the UK in the mid 1970s.
Only they hadn’t.
They were completely innocent.
But the enormous political pressure to get a conviction in the case had led to four innocents being railroaded and convicted.
At their sentencing, the presiding judge expressed regret that the UK had recently abolished the death penalty and that he couldn’t impose it on these four young individuals.
Cut to 16 years later.
I’m outside the Old Bailey courthouse as these now four middle-aged people are released from jail. completely absolved of the crimes they spent 16 years in jail for.
They later made a movie about this case. It was called IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER.
These four innocent people would surely have hanged if England had the death penalty in 1974.
If that doesn’t give you pause for thought, nothing will.
I should point out that the campaign to release the Guildford Four was largely led and managed by English civil servants and their English lawyer Gareth Pearce was very accurately portrayed by Emma Thompson in the film.