Friday, January 14, 2011
Most Notable Case of the Week
A Tale of Cannibalism on the High Seas
The most notable case this week was in criminal law. We read a story about some British sailors in the 19th century who abandoned ship and were stranded at sea in a lifeboat. The guys got the bright idea that their chances of surviving would improve if they sacrificed one of their own and cannibalized him. Eventually they did carry out the plan, and a few days later, they were rescued by a passing ship.
The men blabbed about their experiences not thinking they would be charged with murder since this sort of conduct was a custom of sea. It was a revolting and nasty story. Eventually, two of the men were charged with murder, found guilty and sentenced to death. Luckily for them, the sentences were commuted to 6mos in prison.
The moral of the story was about morals, necessity and murder. The real moral of the story is to keep one's mouth shut should one ever be caught in such a predicament.
The case is Regina v. Dudley and Stephens.