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Death Penalty Debate

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Vanie Chahal

on 8 January 2014

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Transcript of Death Penalty Debate

The penalty of death for committing a crime


Canada, just like 57 countries around the world like China, US, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan today, used to have capital punishment. It was enacted in 1859.
The offences punishable by death in Upper and Lower Canada were:
Robbery with wounding
Casting away a ship
Exhibiting a false signal to a ship
Buggery with man
By 1869, the crimes punishable by death were shortlisted to: Murder, Treason and Rape
But, in 1962, capital and non-capital murders were distinguished:

Capital Murders
-Required the death penalty
-Planned and deliberate
-Committed during a
violent crime
-Committed under contract
-Resulted in the death of a police officer or a prison guard while on duty

DEC 11, 1962
Ronald Turpin
Arthur Lucas
Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin became the last people to be executed in Canada. Ronald Turpin, 29, was convicted of shooting a Toronto police constable. Arthur Lucas, 54, was convicted of murdering an FBI informant working in Canada. Fighting the fierce cold, a small group of vocal protesters gathered outside Toronto's Don Jail.
5 years after...
PM Lester B. Pearson places a morotorium on death penalty
Government of Pierre Trudeau passes Bill C-84 abolishing death penalty from Criminal Code
Reinstatement is debated and rejected by Parliament
Death penalty is wiped out from National Defence Act for military offences such as treason and mutiny
Supreme Court of Canada confirms Canada’s rejection of the death penalty
In Canadian history, a total of 710 criminals were executed. Of those executed, 697 were men and 13 were women.

Although he personally thinks "there are times where capital punishment is appropriate,"
PM Stephen Harper's government has studiously avoided coming anywhere near the capital punishment files
Today, Canada is fully abolitionist- our country actively opposes the death penalty
In terms of the public, they have strong passionate views on the issue. But they’re all over the map...
And the debate goes on...
Angus Reid Public Opinion poll: March 20, 2013
-Vanie Chahal
"A high wall of secrecy surrounds the gallows-perhaps only the Imperial Palace is as insulated from public view as those."
Insulated from media, families of both the condemned and the victim(s)
No official accounts are published; public may know about it only after the execution
Death row inmates are not notified of their execution date
No identifiable hangman- 5 guards press buttons simultaneously, with one button actually opening the trap door
More than 81% of the Japanese population supports capital punishment, a recent survey suggests
Mandatory death penalty for drug offences- CLEAR VIOLATION of International human rights standards (impossible to take in account mitigating or extenuating circumstances)
Firearm offences and murder also warrants the death penalty
Also violates the Constitution of Singapore,since it takes judicial sentencing powers from the courts and gives them to the legislature
Government uses infamous laws to restrict open discussions on the death penalty
Public Prosecutor v. Abdul Haleem and another
Abdul Haleem &
Muhummad Ridzuan.
May 6, 2010
Court Decision date:
May 20, 2013
Two drug couriers were caught with 72.5 grams of heroin

Court's Decision:
Guilty; Both were given the death penalty.

In April 2013, Abdul Haleem
was given the first certification from
the Attorney-General’s Chambers which notified his substantial assistance in disrupting drug trafficking cases. He was instead sentenced to
life imprisonment and 24 lashes of the cane. His accomplice’s death penalty charge was upheld.
A sign at a bus stop warns about drug sentences in SINGAPORE
United States of America
MAIN METHODS OF EXECUTION:Lethal injection, Electrocution, Hanging
Remains the only western country to practice capital punishment
38 states have the death penalty
In 1997, for the first time, a UN monitor investigated the use of death penalty and reports accused US of unfair, arbitrary and racist use of capital punishment particularly in southern states, such as Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas
96% Singaporeans support death penalty!!
U.S. Death Penalty Support Stable at 63%
(vote of 131 to 124)
Capital Punishment and International Relations

Signing of the
Second Optional protocol
If a Canadian commits a crime punishable by death in another country, what happens?
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The ICCPR has received almost universal endorsement, with 144 countries as parties to the treaty
Article 6 states: 'Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age and shall not be carried out on pregnant women.'
Okay, but If you are an adult, then what...?
Canadians facing a death sentence in a foreign country may ask the Government of Canada to seek clemency on their behalf.
Clemency Policy
IN 2007
"Canada would not actively pursue the return of Canadians facing the death sentence who have been tried in a democratic country that supports rule of law."
Public Safety Minister: Stockwell Day
Smith v. Canada
In a decision rendered on March 4, 2009, Mr. Justice Barnes found that the Canadian government did not have a coherent new policy on seeking clemency in death-penalty cases, and therefore the government was required to apply the former policy to Smith's case.
Other complications...
Canada has not signed extradition treaties with China because of its widespread use of the death penalty and doubts about the fairness and independence of its courts.
If assurances to not impose death penalty become a sine quo non (a necessary condition) for extradition, this may create situations of impunity where an offender cannot be brought back to trial.
"Show no mercy to the merciless"
Deters crime
Is Cost-effective
Is fair; justice is better served
Parole gives another chance to commit crimes
Without it, prisons could face problems of overpopulation

"Killing others to show that killing is bad does not make sense"
No proof of the fact that it is a deterrent
Is Barbaric
Is Unconstitutional
Is Irrevocable: Innocents are executed
Murders are committed in the heat of passion; fear of the law plays no part at all
My opinion...
In a lyrical way...
1) The class will be divided into 2 teams.
2) A question will come up and each team will get some time to collaborate and figure out the answer.
3) Once you have the answer, one person from each team has to come up and write the answer on the board.
4) READY??
Question 1
Define retentionist and name one country that is retentionist.
Retentionist is a term used for countries that use capital punishment/death penalty.

Ex: US, Afghanistan, China, Singapore etc.
Question 2
Why is Death Penalty considered
Question 3
Name the country Canada
has not signed an extradition policy with because of its widespread use of death penalty
Last Question!
In Singapore, there is a mandatory death penalty for __________
Drug Offences
It violates Sec 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (The right to not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment)
Full transcript