Presentation on theme: "Unit 20 Death and the Law. I Legal Views of Suicide - have varied widely – historically and culturally - Asian societies – haven’t condemned, but even."— Presentation transcript:
Unit 20 Death and the Law
I Legal Views of Suicide - have varied widely – historically and culturally - Asian societies – haven’t condemned, but even awarded suicide (Japan – hara-kiri; India – suttee) - Judaism – forbids self-destruction - Islam – a clear scriptural ban on suicide - Early Christians – ambivalent about suicide (founded on martyrdom, but virgins who preferred suicide to dishonour were celebrated) - Christians of the 5th century – suicide – a mortal sin, suicides were denied Christian burial; Church law influenced civil law - ancient Athens – suicides denied a normal burial; buried alone on the outskirts of the city without a headstone or marker - under Louis XIV – the dead person’s body was drawn through the streets, face down, and then hung or thrown on a garbage heap
Suicide under English Law SUICIDE (the intentional taking of one's own life) 1300s English Common Law made suicide a criminal act (FELONY) - punished by forfeiture of all the goods and chattels of the offender. English Common Law distinguished a suicide committed by an unsound mind from an “evil doer against himself”, who had coolly decided to end (an infamous crime) – entire estate forfeited to the crown; ignominious burial - corpse dragged through the streets and hung from the gallows, and finally buried beneath a crossroad with a stake driven through the body – served as a deterrent by the 17th century – a suicide forfeited only personal property; heirs could get his real estate until 1879 did not distinguish between suicide and homicide Suicide Act 1961 – suicide ceased to be an offence; assisting others to kill themselves remains illegal
Suicide under US Law never punished as a crime never penalized by property forfeiture or ignominious burial listed as a felony in many states, but never enforced by 1963 – six states considered attempted suicide a crime
II History of Abortion Law in the UK - 13th Century - the first references to abortion in English law appeared in the law; followed Church teaching that abortion was acceptable until 'quickening‘ ( when the soul entered the foetus) - remained like this for centuries - Abortion Act permits termination of pregnancy by a registered practitioner
III Capital Punishment in the UK 5th century – hanging by neck introduced to England ny the Anglo-Saxon invaders (by 10th century – a common method of execution) 18th century “Bloody Code” – 220 different crimes punishable by death (executions for murder, burglary and robbery were common; death sentences for minor offenders were often not carried out) 1908 – Children’s Charter – juveniles under 16 no longer could be executed 1938 – the issue of abolition of capital punishment was brought before parliament
Capital Punishment in the UK 1969 – abolition of Capital punishment for murder ; remained for certain other offences until 1998 1998 – complete abolition (when ratifying the European Convention on Human Rights prohibiting capital punishment) (prior to it – available for 6 offences 1) serious misconduct in action 2) assisting the enemy 3) obstructing operations 4) giving false air signals 5) mutiny or incitement to mutiny 6) failure to suppress a mutiny in intent to assist the enemy The last execution took place in 1964 (by hanging)
Capital Punishment in the USA a hotly debated topic – reaches constitutional dimensions the Eight Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – constitutional basis against the imposition of the death penalty 1998 – approximately 3000 prisoners were awaiting execution the majority of the U.S. population favours the abolition of the death penalty state and federal legislatures have done little to change current legislation
Capital Punishment in the USA 1998 – 38 out of 50 American states have death penalty (Amnesty International’s report) exists under federal law 1998 – approximately 3000 prisoners were awaiting execution the majority of the U.S. population favours the abolition of the death penalty state and federal legislatures have done little to change current legislation
IV Euthanasia EUTHANASIA = “good death” or “dying well” The practice of ending a life in a painless manner; describes a number of different methods Some forms are legal in: Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Oregon (US), Andalusia (Spain) and Thailand serious moral issues attached to it – characterized as murderous and merciless
Classification of Euthanasia I By consent A) Voluntary euthanasia B) Involuntary euthanasia – an individual makes a decision for another person incapable of doing so II By means A) Passive (non-aggressive) – withholding of common treatment (antibiotics, surgery) to relieve pain knowing that it may also result in death (the most accepted form and a common practice in hospitals) B)Aggressive euthanasia – (use of lethal substance or forces to kill )
Essential expressions to be charged with (murder / criminal offence...) the law on abortion / capital punishment has changed to take one’s own stand to execute a murderer (execution) the pressure for the aboliton of hanging to have influence on public attitudes / person’s behaviour at the trial to commit murder / suicide / crime
Essential expressions II a free / liberal attitude towards put something before something else see things in black and white the supporters of suffer from diminished responsibility to preserve human life to get away with something
Vocabulary practice Fill in the gaps. 1. The act of bringing into effect a judgement of death penalty is _________________. 2. _____________ is the action of destroying a human foetus prematurely. 3. Cases of terminal diseases often raise the question of _______________. 4. The understanding of psychiatric conditions of a murder influences the attitude towards_________________. 5. __________ __________ is the state of human mind, which makes a person not accountable for his or her actions.
Vocabulary practice – Answer key 1. The act of bringing into effect a judgement of death penalty is execution. 2. Abortion is the action of destroying a human foetus prematurely. 3. Cases of terminal diseases often raise the question of euthanasia. 4. The understanding of psychiatric conditions of a murder influences the attitude towards the punishment he should get.. 5. Diminished responsibility is the state of human mind, which makes a person not accountable for his or her actions.