Capital Punishment in Australia

First, I will have to define what capital punishment is and what it entails. Capital punishment is also referred to as the death penalty and it is the execution of an individual by the state as punishment for a crime that has been committed by that person. The crimes that may result from this kind of punishment include capital offenses or capital crimes.

The word capital originated from the Latin word capitalism which meant the head and as a result, the ancient capital crimes were punishable by the loss of ahead. As I mentioned earlier different countries have different laws that govern their capital punishment for crimes. Capital punishment also differs greatly from one country to the other. For example, the death penalty is carried out today in many countries as punishment for espionage, treason, premeditated murder, or it is practiced as part of military justice.

In Arab countries, sexual crimes such as adultery, rape, and sodomy as well as the formal renunciation of the religion practiced by the state (apostasy) amount to the death penalty. Of vital importance is to know that those countries that still practice capital punishment are called retentionist and those that have abolished are called abolitionists. In retentionists countries, even cases of drug trafficking is a capital offense which results in the death penalty.

To be specific, in China serious cases of corruption as well as human trafficking result in the death penalty. Courts-martial which are specifically for military offenses such as desertion, mutiny, cowardice, insubordination all result in the death penalty. However, there are countries that have decided to do away with capital punishment and Australia is one of them. Other countries that have abolished the use of capital punishment include almost all European and Pacific Area states such as Canada, New Zealand, and Timor Leste.

The question to be asked is ‘Why do some countries decide to do away with capital punishment that they have practiced for so long? Let me now turn my discussion to Australia with a brief overview of the history of capital punishment. In 1967 the last case of capital punishment was used in Australia, “Sorry for the last victim” when the hanging of Ronald Ryan took place in Victoria.

He marked the 114th person out of the 114 people who had been hanged in the 20th century in Australia and even before he was hanged New South Wales and Queensland had already abolished capital punishment. In 1984 capital punishment was removed in all states when the death penalty was abolished by the state of Western Australia for all crimes. The abolishment of the death penalty was formalized by the institution of a death penalty abolition act of 1973 with section four of the same act stating “A person is not liable to the punishment of death for any offense”.

Some of the offenses that resulted in a death penalty included sheep-stealing, manslaughter, and murder, sexual assaults, forgery, burglary and on one occasion a death penalty occurred of “A person who was found at large” and as a result of these offenses, 80 people lost their lives in the 19th century in Australia. “Surely were the courts justified for hanging a person for stealing sheep”?

Then with stiff opposition against capital punishment hitting the daily headlines of various communication media “Why should capital punishment be Re-introduced in Australia”? It is important to note that many people fear death and as a result, they avoid doing what may result in a quick death. In the wake of death penalty abolishment in Australia, many cases such as murder have been on the increase.

This is partly associated with the fact that the offender realizes that even if they murder someone they will live in prisons and have their own rights as prisoners. There is, therefore, no fear on the part of the criminals when they decide to carry out their evil activities in Australia and this is one reason why the death penalty should be reintroduced in order to scare away criminals.

The other reason is that if a person commits a murder or a manslaughter offense he/she does it knowingly unless the person is of unsound mind. Such cases have also escalated in Australia and the reason attributable to the escalation is just ignorance and lack of respect for human life. “Why should such a criminal get a lesser punishment if he/she did not consider the person he/she murdered to be worth living”? Capital punishment should be introduced in order to prevent such persons from carrying out such activities.

To be specific, in one case a woman killed or murdered her husband in order to accommodate her lover in her house. “Is this not a serious criminal offense that needed to be punished through death”? The woman had the option of seeking divorce but her action of murdering her husband could have resulted from the fact that she knew that even if she did so she would get a lesser penalty of life imprisonment but she would have gotten rid of the person she never wanted to see in her life. Then in the wake of such criminal offenses in Australia, it is important to introduce the death penalty for such offenses.

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DemoEssays. "Capital Punishment in Australia." September 18, 2023.