Muir disgusted at DUP death penalty comments

Alliance Councillor Andrew Muir has expressed his disgust after DUP Minister Lord Morrow said the death penalty should be reintroduced.

The North Down representative was speaking after Lord Morrow gave an interview in which he said capital punishment would better protect PSNI officers. His DUP colleague Gregory Campbell later backed his views on a radio show.

“The death penalty is wrong, and goes against all that is fair and decent about our justice system,” said Cllr Muir.

“The hallmark of a compassionate society is the ability to deliver real justice and not vengeance. While justice must protect the public, and both punish and rehabilitate the offender, it should also demonstrate the values we want to promote in wider society in a fair, dignified and compassionate manner.

“Alliance has always opposed the death penalty regardless of circumstance, noting the serious miscarriages of justice which have also occurred in the past. The idea of taking an innocent life in error must concern everyone, including those who support capital punishment.

“The death penalty is not an effective deterrent – many of the countries which use it have higher rates of violent crime than those who use custodial sentences. Two wrongs certainly do not make a right and the reintroduction of the death penalty would be a massive step back in time to a barbaric practice we can be glad no longer exists in our country.

“Rather than campaigning for the reintroduction of the death penalty, we should be supporting efforts by organisations such as Amnesty International to end the practice across the globe, as it is not acceptable anywhere. Life should be valued, not extinguished in some vain attempt to reduce offending and enact vengeance.”

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