Suppose you find yourself in a situation in which killing an innocent person is the only way to prevent many innocent people from dying. This question arose in The Queen v.
Roman law had a maxim for it: Francis Bacon had even hypothesized of two persons in distress upon a body of water with both clinging to a: The three oldest, led by the captain, killed the youngest and the weakest, the cabin boy, so as to give themselves a chance to survive until rescue.
Three days later, the three survivors were rescued, with blood and human flesh under their fingernails and the bottom of their dinghy strewn with the remains of Richard Packer. It happened when a small yacht being sailed to Australia by an experienced English seafarer, Tom Dudley, and his mates Edwin Stephens, Edmund Brooks and the year old cabin boy, Richard Thomas Parker.
But the boat, called the Mignonette, sunk with little warning on the high seas on July The queen v dudley and stephens, Suddenly, the four men were crowded in a small dinghy, lost in the middle of the South Atlantic, at latitude 27 degrees 10 south and longitude 9 degrees 50 West: With two tins of turnips and no water, it was a desperate situation.
On July 13, the men began to drink their own urine. On July 20, Parker gave way to temptation and began to gulp down seawater. It had the inevitable effect. He began to speak deliriously and gave some appearance of imminent death. But Brooks hesitated and in the result, the evidence as to whether lots were ever drawn was inconclusive.
Still, Dudley and Stephens watched the boy. When July 24 dawned, with Parker breathing heavily, apparently comatose and sunken into the bottom of the open boat, Dudley had the wherewithal to kill slowly by bleeding him before natural death occurred to as to salvage the blood.
Stephens at that time was in the stern of the boat and Brooks in the bow? To some locals, they were heroes. But it was homicide by any definition. Traditionally, there was an unwritten, unspoken peace between the law and shipwrecked survivors.
When cannibalism had occurred, the law turned a blind eye. What happened on the high seas in such tragic circumstances, stayed on the high seas and was between each survivor and their conscience.
Historically, shipwreck was an accepted hazard of international travel. England alone recorded almost shipwrecks inincluding the Mignonette. And, again, the Elizabeth Rashleigh which sunk inor the Essex inwhich inspired the story of Moby Dick.
All had survivors only because of cannibalism. And yet, no prosecutions unless one includes Tulpius' account of a shipwreck where the survivors stood trial for homicide, had drawn lots and killed the loser and eaten him. They were convicted but promptly pardoned because of the extreme necessity of their crime.
But this was the ancient custom, the law of the sea. Not the law of England. William Blackstone had written "that when assailed, a man ought rather to die himself than escape by the murder of an innocent".
And this was news, the "Terrible Tale of the Sea".
The other difference was the judge to whom the case was assigned, old John Huddleston, a pompous judge, one still who wore gloves into court and who was described as a "snob". The Crown needed at least one eye- witness. They plea bargained with Brooks and got their man. Dudley and Stephens were charged with murder.
The seafaring community was outraged.There are tragic facts. And then there's the facts in R. v. Dudley. Murder and cannibalism in necessity were acquainted with the common law.
The Queen vs Dudley and Stephens () (The Lifeboat Case) A brief overview of the case: Suppose you find yourself in a situation in which killing an innocent person is the only way to prevent many innocent people from dying.
British officers | home Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) Officers (including Territorial Army Nursing Service).
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