12 MARCH 1932, Page 19


[To the Editor of the Sroclwroa.] SIR,—It was not to be expected that my suggestion should commend itself to Mr. Calvert and his society for the total abolition of capital punishment. Unintentionally, no doubt, he has misrepresented the purpose of my proposal, which was not to extend the death penalty to what he calls " lesser grimes," but to apply it (after due warning) to special cases of atrocious and determined criminals whose accumulated guilt, as I have explained already, might easily exceed that characterizing a single murder of an ordinary type.

Mr. Calvert is also in error when he speaks, somewhat superciliously, of my " remedies," for I have made but one suggestion, namely that of the judicial death-warning, with its consequence if disregarded. Even here he makes another mistake in stating that such a warning has already been tried in vain. Let him read my first letter again, and he will realize that what I have outlined is something quite different from the usual judicial admonition, which is probably what he had in mind.

As a concluding corollary to my original proposition, I would add that the impressiveness of the death-warning would be greatly increased if a set form of solemn words were prescribed by law, and if the judge, in pronouncing them, were to assume the " black cap."—I am, Sir, &e.,


9 Bluecoat Chambers, School Lane, Liverpool.