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Kenneth Parks case study
Transcript of Kenneth Parks case study
Background of Parks...
Kenneth parks was a man from Pickering Ontario. He was a gambler and he was recently fired from his job at work. Kenneth had so many stressors in his life that he could no longer handle...conscious or unconscious. During the early hours of May 24 1987, he drove twenty three kilometers to his in-laws house in Scarborough Ontario. Once he arrived he stabbed his mother in-law to death and badly wounded his father in-law. He then drove to the police station and entered covered in blood. He admitted right there "I have killed someone with my bare hands... Oh my god I just killed someone... I killed my mother and father in-law." The big catch is he was asleep the entire time he was committing the crime. He killed Barbara Ann Woods and injured Dennis Woods with a kitchen knife as well as brutally beat them.
There are many aggravating factors to this case that are really tough to back up. One of which is that he actually admitted to killing his in-laws. He went into a police station covered in blood and said it. This is murder and should be convicted for nothing less. He took another’s life. Experts say the reason he did this in his sleep was probably because the overwhelming amounts of stress he was under because of the gambling and no job. It was not the actions of his in-law but it was his own actions that caused it and therefore he should pay for those actions. Also how do we know he was asleep and this is not just a big story? For all we know he could be a great actor and just act like he had no clue what he was doing. Think about how hard it would be to sleepwalk through something like that. Another factor that I will discuss is that there is the fact that there is a witness to the murder and he was a victim himself. He never really believed Parks was fully asleep. There is also the fact that that even though he got along with his in-laws, there could defiantly be more to the story. If he was fully asleep the entire time, why would he go to the in-laws house if he got along great with them? He must have secretly at least hated his boss because he was the one that fired Parks. The biggest and most important factor could be the fact that it was his in-laws he killed so he probably did lie about his relationship with them. Parks ought to be prosecuted for the crimes he has committed.
There are not that many mitigating factors but the ones that exist play a huge role in the sentence. The biggest one is the fact that he was sleep walking while committing the crimes. He was not conscious and this means he would of had no mens rea. There would have been no reason for him to kill his in-laws. He came from a family with heavy sleepers including sleep walkers. His defense is called automatism. He was technically temporarily insane therefore did not know why he was doing it. There was no intent just action. This is when you are unconscious when you commit a crime. He also had a great relationship with his in-laws so this proves that he would not want to murder them for any good reason. He should not be charged because he was never actually conscious during the crime while it was being committed. He did not know what was going on and he was just a stressed out guy and this stress turned into a freak accident. Kenneth had no violent past and was clearly not a violent man in his daily life. He should not be prosecuted for his actions as he did not know what he was doing. This is why Parks ought to be let off with an easier sentence if even deserving of one.
Kenneth Parks was acquitted for murder after he stabbed his mother- in law to death and almost did the same to his father-in law. He was deemed temporarily insane because while he was driving to their house to kill them and while actually committing the crime, he was asleep. The defense that was presented was called automatism so the judge had no choice but to acquit parks of murder. This is one of those cases where I wish a judge could use opinion but I know they cant because they need the public trust. I think it was not one persons fault more than parks and he should have at least been put away for man slaughter. He cant even be put away for that though since it was not an accident. This man is a murderer and although he had a great defense, he should be treated as one. How do we know that he was asleep and not just a great actor? And it was his own dumb actions that made him so stressed out that he decided to go to his in-laws house and murder them. They say he had a great relationship with them yet he is the first people he want’s to kill if he is stressed out? That makes no sense at all.
Why would a legal professional study this?
Why should the public know?
There is a huge point to this case that everyone should know and understand. The best lesson that this teaches people is court solidarity. Most would blame Kenneth for his own actions and say he should get some sort of jail time for man slaughter if not murder. Parks killed a person and almost killed another yet he gets off with being acquitted of murder? This shows that a Canadian judge will not bend based on public opinion. If he would have bent the law so that Kenneth would be put away, it might make people happy but at the same time it takes the publics trust out of the court system. If that sort of thing was to happen all of the time people going to court would have no trust that they are actually being sentenced fairly. This kind of sentencing is mandatory because Parks had an air tight defence and the court showed that those will not just be ignored. If it was me going to court and they most judging’s were based on public opinion, I would feel scared and mistreated. Another reason the public should get to know this case better is so they can understand how ruling must be. They need to have a better idea of how a judge makes their decision. Most people just follow a set of morals and they don’t understand the main rule when a verdict is reached and that is that there must be no reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. People do not understand in the general public and they blame a judge for what they believe to be a wrong sentence when really the judge made the right call. I feel for the judges that are put in these positions and this is a perfect example of what the public should look at to learn more about court solidarity.
A legal professional would study this because the fact that a man can murder in his sleep is fascinating and astonishing. The fact of needing to be in one of the deepest sleeps possible, like the ones most people need drugs to get into was used as a self defence system to get away from the stress and he killed someone while being in that messed up state of mind. Nobody will ever know if he was sleeping or not or what he was thinking while committing the crime because he does not know himself. It will also be studied for the fact that this was not a common sense of law case but it took it to the point where they needed to break the law dictionary out. This case confused everyone on how it has to be ruled. The book ruled that in fact it was automatism that could be used as a defence since Parks was not conscious. It may also be studied because it needs to be known that a deep sleep like this may occur one day and since not many crimes were even close to this one, we now understand how to deal with a sleepwalker. This case can set standards for those cases in the future that hold such a strong case for automatism. This case was intriguing to learn about as a student but I bet it would be even more so for a legal professional because of their knowledge of the system. This case could blow even their minds.
Thank you Mrs Lawrie for all of your help in this course!!!