UPPER Bann MP David Simpson has lent his support to calls for the death penalty to be introduced.
The DUP man has spoken after petitions were made to Downing Street calling for it to be debated in Parliament.
Mr Simpson said, “The key thing in establishing any sentence for any crime is whether or not the punishment fits the crime and whether or not the sentence handed down is he due, proper and proportionate punishment for what has been done. I am of the view that there are some crimes that are so grievous and aggravated and are of such a magnitude that the only fitting, due proper and proportionate response is to hand down the death penalty.
“The truth is that this is not and never really has been about the issue of deterrence, although clearly the person concerned would never repeat their offence. It is rather about a particular type or scale or order of offence demanding that a particular sentence be handed down.”
Mr Simpson acknowledged that people have argued against capital punishment on the grounds of possible miscarriages of justice but said that for him the truth that is really about process rather than principle.
“If the judicial processes are right then that risk can be overcome,” he said. “For example in what would be a capital crime where the death penalty would be sought by the prosecution it could be established that several types of evidence were required – eg forensic, circumstantial and eyewitness and it could be laid down that the death penalty could only be considered if several strands of evidence were compellingly present.
“And again it could be laid down that it could only finally be enacted after a proper appeals mechanism was exhausted.”
Others have argued that a life sentence is actually a greater and more severe sentence. This is not so – for the bringing to an end of all human potential and future is far, far greater.
He concluded, “The death penalty is a terrible thought and no-one should speak of it lightly – but that is the heart of the matter. For there are some crimes – such as the recent mass murders in Norway that are so terrible that only such a sentence could answer effectively to what has been done.
“I believe that it would now be right for Parliament to debate this subject again after a lengthy gap. For my part I believe that the death penalty should be available to society – when it comes to such things as the murder of little children or police officers or multiple killings.”