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Report No. 35

IV. Specific illustrations of deterrent effect

311. Specific illustrations of deterrent effect.-

It may be of interest to note some specific illustrations of the deterrent effect of capital punishment. Thus, Sir Harold Scott, Commissioner of Police, London, narrated the following facts1 of one case:-

A person was arrested for house and shop-breaking behind a wall on the top floor of some premises; he had kept a "jemmy" for use against persons who may come to arrest him but left it on a box at the top of the stairs. When asked why he had left it there, he said that he decided not to use it, as he may have a "swing".

1. R.C. Report, p. 335, para. 15.

312. Compare also the case from New Zealand1-2, in which, after committing the murder on one occasion, the offender said, "you do not get hanged for murder now-a-days; even if you commit murder now-a-days you only get 8 years for it. That is the good Government we have in". A case from U.S.A. may be cited. In South Dakota, two persons crossed the border from Illinois to that State, and committed "robbery murders" of the attendants of a filling-station, at a time when capital punishment had been abolished in South Dakota3.

1. R.C. Report, p. 337, para. 16, quoting the speech of the Minister of Justice of New Zealand in the House of Representatives.

2. New Zealand has, however, now abolished capital punishment for murder. See (New Zealand) Crimes Act, 1961, sections 74 and 172.

3. See R.C. Report, p. 375, para. 104.

313. Similarly, at the time when capital punishment was not in force in Kansas, persons who had previously committed murders in surrounding States (where a capital punishment was in force) started deliberately committing murders in Kansas1.

1. See R.C. Report, p. 375, para. 103.

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