Criminal Justice question
In the Spring of 1884, an Australian gentleman visiting England purchased a yacht, the
Mignonette, which he wished to have delivered to his home in Australia. He found a
man named Dudley who appeared capable of undertaking the task and he, in turn,
recruited three other men to help him: Stephens, Brooks and a lad called Parker. They
set sail from Southampton on 19th May and set a southerly course to round the Cape of
Good Hope, making a couple of stops en-route for the purposes of rest.
On July 3rd, 1884, somewhere about 1600 miles off the coast of Africa they
encountered strong winds and high seas which overpowered the boat and it quickly
sank. The four men had little time to load their tiny wooden dinghy with anything major
except for two tins of turnips. In this boat, they had no supply of water and food. For
three days they had nothing else to subsist upon but the two cans of turnips. On the
fourth day, they caught a small turtle, upon which they subsisted for a few days. After 12
days, the remains the turtle were entirely consumed, and for the next eight days, they
had nothing to eat. That they had no freshwater, except such rain as they from time to
time caught in their oilskin capes. The boat was drifting on the ocean and was probably
more than 1000 miles away from land. On the 18th day, when they had been seven
days without food and five without water, Dudley and Stevens spoke to Brooks, as to
what should be done if they were not rescued.
On July 24, Dudley proposed to Stephens and Brooks that lots should be cast regarding
who should be put to death to save the rest, but Brooks refused to consent, Dudley and
Stephens spoke about having families and suggested it would be better to kill the boy
that their lives should be saved. Dudley proposed that if there was no vessel in sight by
the next morning, that the boy (Parker) should be killed. The next day on July 25th, no
vessel appearing, Dudley told Brooks that he had better go and have a sleep, and made
signs to Stephens and Brooks that the boy (Parker) had better be killed. Stephens
agreed to the act, but Brooks dissented from it. Parker was then lying at the bottom of
the boat quite helpless, and extremely weakened by famine and by drinking seawater,
and unable to make any resistance, nor did he ever assent to his being killed. Dudley
offered a prayer asking forgiveness for them all if either of them should be tempted to
commit a rash act, and that their souls might be saved. That Dudley, with the assent of
Stephens, went to the boy and telling him that his time was come, put a knife into his
throat and killed him then and there; that the three men fed upon the body and blood of
Parker for four days.
Four days later on July 26/27th, a German Barque, the Montezuma carrying a cargo of
nitrate from South America to Hamburg, hove into sight and their lives saved. They
insisted on taking the body of Parker with them to give him a Christian burial in Britain.
Whilst the men were relating their experiences, a policeman employed by the Harbour
Commissioners, Sgt. Laverty had overheard all that had been said. He was not of a
mind to ignore the situation and seek legal advice as a result of which the men were not
allowed to return straight to their homes.
The Police apprehended under a Warrant Thomas Dudley Master; Ed. Stephens, Mate:
and E. Brooks Seaman, of the Yacht Mignonette (which foundered) on a charge of
killing at Sea on the 20th of July last, the boy Richard Parker after being for 18 days in a
small punt with hardly any food or drink.
Murder is defined as the unlawful killing of one human being by another. This violent
offense is listed, as a Part I crime in the UCR (Uniformed Crime Report).
The Crime Picture. In this discussion thread, you will be critically analyzing the conduct
of Dudley and Stephens in the case of the Queen vs. Dudley & Stephens.
Respond to the questions below:
1. In your words summarize the facts of the Queen vs Dudley and Stephens
case (note in your summary-who, what, where, when and how?)
2. Did Dudley and Stephens commit the act of murder or was it a simple act of
self-preservation? (Be sure to explain your rationale)
3. If you were a juror would you vote to convict Dudley and Stephens of murder?
Why or why not?
4. Does the defense of necessity permit the killing of one person to save others?
5. What would you do in this scenario? Would you engage in the consumption
(cannibalism) one of your colleagues if you were a castaway at sea with no
vision of rescue? Hmmm!!!
Since this discussion board is worth 20 points, your initial response should have a
minimum of 500-750 words. Expressing an opinion is not enough. You will be
evaluated on the consistency and quality of your posts to the weekly discussion board. I
will primarily be looking for how well you support your comments. I expect you to work
to make meaning of the material of the course. I look for depth of engagement, as well
as the level of critical thinking and inquiry. Success hinges on keeping up with readings,
and referring to them as much as possible when you do respond.
As a reminder, you are not sending out a text message or tweet, so when writing your
post, use proper English, grammar and writing mechanics.
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