DNA 'strong case for death penalty'

Read it on the Yorkshire Evening Post website

By: Mark Hookham

Ground-breaking DNA detection techniques means the argument for bringing back the death penalty is getting "stronger and stronger," according to a West Yorkshire MP.
Shipley Tory MP Philip Davies said politicians are out of step with public opinion on the issue of capital punishment.

Mr Davies said those who have committed the most "horrific crimes" - such as Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe - have "forfeited their right to live in society" and should face the death penalty.

He said: "Clearly, people are reluctant to support capital punishment if they feel the wrong person may be convicted.

"But technology moves on and (with the) DNA evidence that has been introduced, the chances of getting the wrong person are getting lower and lower and therefore the argument for capital punishment gets stronger and stronger.

"I don't think it's bizarre at all to bring it back.

"We have also got to consider the number of people who have been killed in this country by murderers who have been convicted once and then let out of prison.

"When capital punishment was abolished we were always told that life would mean life, we realised a long time ago that that certainly isn't the case anymore."

However, former Home Secretary Charles Clarke disagreed, saying: "I believe that however good we get at identifying crime, there is always the risk and therefore capital punishment shouldn't happen.

"Philip's argument leads to arguing for stronger sentences but I don't think it argues for capital punishment."

The last executions in Britain, by hanging, took place in 1964, and capital punishment was abolished for murder in 1969.