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NO EXCUSE FOR MURDER, Justices Darling, Walton, and Pickford sat as a Court of Criminal Appeal In London on Tuesday, February 23, to deal with the final appeal by Thomas Meade, who was sentenced to death at Leeds Assizes for the wilful murder of Clara Howell, a woman with whom he lived for seven years.

Mr. Jardine, who represented prisoner, argued that althodgh it was admitted the man killed the woman, the blow was given in the course of a drunken quarrel, and he should have been found guilty of manslaughter only. He further argued that Mr. Justice Coleridge, who tried the case, misdirected the jury by referring to the fact that the prisoner's mind must 'be dethroned by drink before they were justified in reducing the orime from murder to manslaughter. As a matter of fact, a man's dn-nken condition might be less-than that, .md yet lie such that a jury would be allowed to return a verdict of manslaughter.

In giving judgment dismissing the appeal. Mr. Justice Darling said a complaint had been made respecting certain words used hy Lord Coleridge in his summing up. The original law was that although an insane person was not liable to the same consequences, or to be Judged by the same standards, as a cane person, yet if the person were suffering from drunkenness produced by his taking intoxicating liquor, he was not to he excused for a crime. After 1519 a certain Immunity was given to such persons, but the Court did not consider it was part of their duty to enlarge such rule. In the words used by Lord Coleridge there was a sufficient warning to the jury, seeing that he used the words, "If he be Insane, the knowledge or Intent Is not presumed, but insanity is not pleaded here." The man accused of a crime such as the one In ques-t-ion was taken to Intend the consequences of his act. That the defence might rebut by showing his power of will to have been so affected by the drink that ha was incapable of knowing that what the was doing was dangerous. Their lordships had carefully considered the case and the words of Lord Coleridge, and they were -words which were not contained in any other Judgment, but a judge could not be condemned to the use of commonplace language, It was said that tho language was picturesque and figurative, 'but It was quite possible to express what was true In such language. They were not prepared to lay down ft definite rule for tho proper summing up in cases such as that. It was unnecessary to criticise the language of Lord • Coleridge, and the appeal would ibe dismissed.

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Bibliographic details

DRINK AND CRIME., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 85, 10 April 1909

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DRINK AND CRIME. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 85, 10 April 1909