Friday, January 13, 2006

Backpacker murder trial ends

Am I alone in finding this story strange? In Britain no-one pleads guilty to murder. The life sentence is mandatory, so there is no deal to be done. Even a one in a thousand chance of an acquittal is worth a try.

Not only did these defendants plead guilty, they seem to have been remarkably willing to tell the police the full story without hesitation. No evidence was presented in their defence, or even in mitigation. What kind of pressure would it take for someone meekly to submit in this way? The speedy arrest and conviction is suspiciously convenient for a Thai government keen to protect its damaged tourist industry.

In Thailand, maybe a defendant can escape the death sentence by pleading guilty? If so, and if the two convicted fishermen are not sentenced to death next Wednesday, then maybe the story makes sense. Otherwise, one has to wonder at the level of remorse required for these men to act against their survival instincts. Not to mention the impressive friendship required for each of them not, as any British chav would have done, to accuse the other of commiting rape and murder while he looked on in horror.

Telegraph | News | Backpacker murder trial ends

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