Short Term Significance of Derek Bentley

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What were the short term effects of trial and execution of Derek Bentley The trial and execution of Derek Bentley was a major controversy in British criminal history. Derek Bentley was a 19 year old British teenager who was hanged for the murder of police officer, Sidney Miles under the common criminal purpose “joint enterprise”. The reason the execution was so controversial was partly because Bentley had a mental age of 11 due to an accident that happened to him during the Second World War as a child. It was also partly the fact that the murder was done by Bentley’s accomplice Christopher Craig, 16 but due to the law was not liable to be hanged as under 18’s could not face capital punishment and Bentley was sentenced to death partly based on an interpretation of the phrase “Let him have it” which Bentley allegedly said to Craig and therefore “mentally aiding the murder of Police Constable Sidney Miles”. In this essay, I will examine the short term effects that the execution of Derek Bentley created and come to an overall conclusion of how significant the trail and execution of Derek Bentley was. One short term effect of the trial and execution of Derek Bentley was the introduction of the Homicide Act of 1957. The Homicide Act is an Act of Parliament that was enacted as a partial reform of the common law offence of murder in English law by abolishing the doctrine of constructive malice and by introducing the partial defences of diminished responsibility and suicide pact. The specific part that the trial and execution of Derek Bentley influenced was the clause on diminished responsibility. “Where a person kills or is a party to the killing of another, he shall not be convicted of murder if he was suffering from such abnormality of mind” * Homicide Act 1957 I was helping to influence the end of capital punishment for murder and therefore, the complete

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