The release of Rex Haig might cause some of you advocates of capital punishment to have a rethink. Let Nick Kim's cartoon make my point:
At least, it should cause you to rethink. Shouldn't it? No argument that murders forfeit any rights to their own life, of course they do, but the nature of our criminal justice system is that mistakes will happen, and even the best criminal justice systems have a history of such mistakes, and innocent people are convicted.
"The problem involved," suggested Nathaniel Branden some years back, "is that of establishing criteria of proof so rationally stringent as to forbid the possibility of convicting an innocent man." And the problem is that no criminal justice system, however good, can provide such a guarantee. It is not epistemologically possible -- that is, the nature of knowledge makes such a guarantee impossible.
In a nutshell: It's hard to give an innocent man his life back when you've already taken it in error. And it's impossible not to make errors.
(I participated in a valuable online debate on this matter a year or so back. Have a peek if you want more of the argument.)
Oh, and let me just give my best wishes to Mr Haig. I hope you can now get on with getting your life back.
LINKS: Rex Haig conviction quashed by Court of Appeal - NZ Herald
Capital punishment - online debate at SOLOHQ
RELATED: Law, Cartoons, Politics-NZ