Just Murder by Edward Robinson FIRST EDITION 1947

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Twice within the last quarter of a century I have seen it stated - once by a Lord Chancellor, and on the other occasion by Sir John Anderson, when he was Under Secretary to the Home Office - that there was no danger in this country of mentally irresponsible people being hanged for the crime of murder. Prompted by memory, I thought those statements a little wide of the mark. Now, supported by the results of a search through the records of murder trials from 1919 to 1939, I assert they have no foundation in fact. This book is comparable to most murder trials in that it contains the arguments for and against my assertion; and the cases themselves represent the factual, circumstantial and inferential evidence that is given in most criminal trials. As Prosecutor, I have brought every factor to bear in my attempt to prove the need for a material change in the law, and the Defence has been given every opportunity of rebutting it. There is a development - a second book in which I intend to attack the law for its treatment of those mental and moral irresponsibles who make periodical appearances in our courts, and for whom the law has no other cure to offer than that of punishment. The reform needed in the procedure connected with trial for murder cannot be achieved without its application to the criminal code generally, and even then it will be useless without revolutionary changes in our prison system. Both reforms are long overdue, and it is time the public conscience was awakened to its own responsibility for many major errors in administering not only law but justice. if you, the jury of readers, find the law guilty, you are passing sentence on yourselves. You will sentence yourselves, and your children, to decades of reform, in which prisons and asylums will have to be rebuilt, their staffs trained in a new concept of their duties, and law and medicine will have to become partners instead of rivals. You have read the evidence, the collective speeches of Prosecution and Defence, and you have read, in the criticisms, analyses, preface and " Last word," what might be termed a composite summing-up. Ladies and gentlemen, you will - I hope - retire to consider your verdict. March 1947, E. Robinson.