The give up his life to help

  The case of Regina v. Dudley and Stephens was not a simplecase.

  Under Common Law Judges areexpected to show consistency when handing down rulings on cases. The courts dothis by the use of precedent from similar cases. In the case of Regina v.

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Dudley and Stephens, Stare Decisis was not able to be used.  This was a different type of case with extenuatingcircumstances. This would be a case of first impression. The main question inthis case is can murdering a person ever be justified?     Murder is thepremeditated killing of another human being.

 Under English Common Law, murder is the mostserious type of homicide that can be committed.  While the circumstances of this case were veryunusual; being that four men were starving to death on a life boat lost at seawith no sure hope of rescue. The proposed action by Dudley to kill the persondeemed to be in the worst condition of the group, in order to save the lives ofthe others was not his or anyone’s decision to make.  Had the boy died on his own and the remainingmen had no other alternatives but to resort to cannibalism, then so be it. Idon’t think the people on board could say with absolute certainty the young boywould die first, and even if they could, it does not justify killing anotherhuman being.  Had the young boy offeredto give up his life to help ensure survival of the remaining men, my decisionin this case would differ.  Murder ismurder and there is never a time when it can be accepted in a civilizedsociety.  I would have ruled Dudley andStephens both guilty of murder.

    I do believe that Judgesshould use Stare Decisis in their decision making as a general guide. However,I also think it is a Judges responsibility to consider whether or not “theletter of the law” is still applicable and relevant to the current times andsociety as a whole. Blindly adhering to precedents from old court rulingssimply for the sake of following procedure or policy is a reckless and dangerousway to make rulings.  Judges must be ableto apply the law in a manner that suits the case at hand.    Sources: Business Law Today:The Essentials 11th edition


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