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    Five New Points of Criminal Law

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    Chapter 2
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    The existing Criminal Law has been found in trials for Murder, to be
    so exceedingly hasty, unfair, and oppressive--in a word, to be so
    very objectionable to the amiable persons accused of that
    thoughtless act--that it is, we understand, the intention of the
    Government to bring in a Bill for its amendment. We have been
    favoured with an outline of its probable provisions.

    It will be grounded on the profound principle that the real offender
    is the Murdered Person; but for whose obstinate persistency in being
    murdered, the interesting fellow-creature to be tried could not have
    got into trouble.

    Its leading enactments may be expected to resolve themselves under
    the following heads:

    1. There shall be no judge. Strong representations have been made
    by highly popular culprits that the presence of this obtrusive
    character is prejudicial to their best interests. The Court will be
    composed of a political gentleman, sitting in a secluded room
    commanding a view of St. James's Park, who has already more to do
    than any human creature can, by any stretch of the human
    imagination, be supposed capable of doing.

    2. The jury to consist of Five Thousand Five Hundred and Fifty-five
    Volunteers.

    3. The jury to be strictly prohibited from seeing either the
    accused or the witnesses. They are not to be sworn. They are on no
    account to hear the evidence. They are to receive it, or such
    representations of it, as may happen to fall in their way; and they
    will constantly write letters about it to all the Papers.

    4. Supposing the trial to be a trial for Murder by poisoning, and
    supposing the hypothetical case, or the evidence, for the
    prosecution to charge the administration of two poisons, say Arsenic
    and Antimony; and supposing the taint of Arsenic in the body to be
    possible but not probable, and the presence of Antimony in the body,
    to be an absolute certainty; it will then become the duty of the
    jury to confine their attention solely to the Arsenic, and entirely
    to dismiss the Antimony from their minds.

    5. The symptoms preceding the death of the real offender (or
    Murdered Person) being described in evidence by medical
    practitioners who saw them, other medical practitioners who never
    saw them shall be required to state whether they are inconsistent
    with certain known diseases--but, THEY SHALL NEVER BE ASKED WHETHER
    THEY ARE NOT EXACTLY CONSISTENT WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OF POISON.
    To illustrate this enactment in the proposed Bill by a case:- A
    raging mad dog is seen to run into the house where Z lives alone,
    foaming at the mouth. Z and the mad dog are for some time left
    together in that house under proved circumstances, irresistibly
    leading to the conclusion that Z has been bitten by the dog. Z is
    afterwards found lying on his bed in a state of hydrophobia, and
    with the marks of the dog's teeth. Now, the symptoms of that
    disease being identical with those of another disease called
    Tetanus, which might supervene on Z's running a rusty nail into a
    certain part of his foot, medical practitioners who never saw Z,
    shall bear testimony to that abstract fact, and it shall then be
    incumbent on the Registrar-General to certify that Z died of a rusty
    nail.

    It is hoped that these alterations in the present mode of procedure
    will not only be quite satisfactory to the accused person (which is
    the first great consideration), but will also tend, in a tolerable
    degree, to the welfare and safety of society. For it is not sought
    in this moderate and prudent measure to be wholly denied that it is
    an inconvenience to Society to be poisoned overmuch.
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