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Report No. 202

2.6 Death sentence: Code makers' view:

The authors of the Code stated:

"We are convinced that it ought to be very sparingly inflicted, and we propose to employ it only in cases where either murder or the highest offence against the State has been committed. To the great majority of mankind nothing is so dear as life. And we are of opinion that to put robbers, ravishers and mutilators on the same footing with murderers is an arrangement which diminishes the security of life. Those offences are almost always committed under such circumstances that the offender has it in his power to add murder to his guilt.

As he has almost always the power to murder, he will often have a strong motive to murder, inasmuch as by murder he may often hope to remove the only witness of the crime which he has already committed. If the punishment of the crime which he has already committed be exactly the same with the punishment for murder, he will have no restraining motive.

A law which imprisons for rape and robbery and hangs for murder, holds out to ravishers and robbers a strong inducement to spare the lives of those whom they have injured. A law which hangs for rape and robbery, and which also hangs for murder, holds out, indeed, if it be rigorously carried into effect, a strong motive to deter men from rape and robbery, but as soon as a man has ravished or robbed, it holds out to him a strong motive to follow up his crime with a murder." (see Draft Penal Code, Note A, Page 93)



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