Last Updated 23 Mar 2023

Queen vs. Dudley and Stephens; opening statement

Category Common Law, Justice
Words 786 (3 pages)
Views 393

Before I begin, I want to remind you that this is the court of law. In this country, the law states that any person who deliberately takes the life of another is guilty of murder. There is no question as to who took the life of Brooks, a man with families and loved ones waiting for him to return from sea. The murderers sit in the seats of the defendants today. Thomas Dudley and Edward Stephens had deliberately took the life of Mr.. Brooks in his most defenseless state, therefore breaking the law and deserve their rightful punishment.

Here they are today, trying to excuse themselves from this devilish act. On July 5th, 1 884, a day no different others, Brooks, Dudley and Stephens was caught in a storm on the high seas 1600 miles from land. This bought them onto an isolated island with only two tins of turnip and no tools. They were trapped on the island for a total of thirty days. In the first 12 days, the turnips was consumed, along with a turtle they caught. For the next eight days, they had no nourishment except for rain water and urine. By the 25th day, everyone was starving and weak.

It was agreed upon that they will draw straws and the loser will be eaten. At this point, is crucial to remember that this contract does not work in court for several reasons. One of which is that a oral contract cannot be used as evidence in court because it is not concrete evidence. Another reason is that any contract, oral or written, based on an illegal purpose, in this case, homicide, does not and will not work In court. The next day, Brooks lost the drawing, but refuses to be eaten, Like any other normal human beings would.

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Hearing this, Dudley and Stephens agreed to kill and eat Brooks because "he would die anyways". Using this obscene reason, they murdered him and fed on him. Five days later, they were rescued. And here they sit before us today, pleading to be excused. Their defense attorney will tell you a story coated with loaded what-ifs. "What if you were Dudley and Stephens? ", "what if you were as hungry as they were? ", "what if eating Brooks was your only choice? ". I have a what-elf of my own, too. What If you were Brooks?

Would you agree to the awful fate of Ewing killed and eaten? The biggest fear In human Is death, no one In their right minds would want to die, especially in a way as gruesome as this. Let us stop and think about the question "what if eating Brooks was your only choicer. In the English Law, the defense of necessity only applies when the harm the defendant sought to avoid outweighs the danger of the prohibited conduct he is charged with or if there Is no reasonable alternative. Let's re-examine the story. Dudley and Stephens killed Brooks to save themselves.

One way to look at this Is that two lives are saved for the sacrifice of one, but there was no way to be sure that they'd still starve after eating Brooks. So the starvation they are trying to avoid by killing Brooks would only satisfy for the time being. In other words, the harm they are trying to avoid does not out-weight the crime of murder because murdering Brooks does not ensure that they will not face the threat of starvation again. Next, there was Cannibalism is frowned upon but it is not illegal like homicide.

Also, while there was mom degree of necessity arising from the threat of starvation, a ship could have sailed over the horizon to save them any moment. As, indeed, the two were rescued. Since they could never be sure that the killing was actually necessary from one minute to the next, this defense does not work. Finally, there's the question of insanity. To be insane is to something without the knowledge of right and wrong and not being in control of one's body and mind. Wrong in this case stands for legally wrong, and not morally wrong.

They obviously new what they did was wrong or they wouldn't have felt guilty enough to admit to it. They knew they would starve to death if they didn't eat Brooks, which is a sign of thinking and reasoning; and according to their statements, they made an agreement to kill Brooks and eat him, which meant they were in total control of their body and mind prior to and during murdering Brooks. Their actions were morally and lawfully wrong. I am here today to request that they be hanged for their actions in the name of Justice. Thank you.

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