Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Sunday, July 10, 2016


            60 years ago on this date, 10 July 1956, Chief Justice Rayner Goddard gave a speech in the House of Lords, defending the use of the death penalty. Here are some of his quotes:

QUOTE: “The supreme crime should carry the supreme penalty.”

QUOTE: “My sentiments are more in favour of the victim than they are of the murderer. There is a tendency nowadays when any matter of criminal law is discussed to think far more of the criminal than his victim.”

Rayner Goddard (1877–1971)
QUOTE: “Is this the time to remove what rightly or wrongly the police and prison service believe to be their main protection against attack? We have to remember that our police are armed with a short baton, the only weapon they have against these gunmen and other people who do not hesitate to shoot and take the lives of policemen. If this (Death Penalty Abolition) bill passes I am sure it will encourage resignation from the police forces and make recruitment more difficult.”

QUOTE: Lord Goddard recalled a brutal assault on a wife in which the accused said, “If it was not that I would swing for you, I would do you in.”

He went on, “That is the sort of thing the death penalty prevents. I do not want to joke in this matter, but would be the effect on such people if they knew that they would be sent to a sanatorium or some other comfortable place if they committed murder?”

QUOTE: “I believe the fear of the rope, as it is generally called among certain classes, is a very great deterrent.”

QUOTE: “If this bill passed, judges will not be able to give any greater punishment for deliberate murder than they can give now for burglary, for breaking into a church (sacrilege), or for forging a will.”

Rayner Goddard (1877–1971)
QUOTE: The Lord Chief Justice recalled the case when a bandit caught after a chase in London fired low at a young constable. “He fired low because he knew what the consequences would be if he murdered the policeman. When he was arrested his first question was, ‘Is the copper dead?’ That is what he was afraid of…These instances make me say with all the earnestness I can command: do not gamble with the lives of the police.” [Speech in the House of Lords, 10 July 1956]

QUOTE: “Are these people to be kept alive?”

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