I WOULD like to make some observations regarding Kenneth Bowker's appeal for the reintroduction of the death penalty (November 22).

He writes it is "highly unlikely that there is a real risk of a wrongful conviction leading to a miscarriage of justice". Presumably, therefore, he accepts some risk of such an outcome, and so he believes that state killing by mistake should be tolerated.

He should note that were the United Kingdom to reintroduce the death penalty, we would be in breach of the European Convention On Human Rights and, as such, would be required to leave the European Union - an outcome that some might consider attractive.

They might prefer to join a new European club with Russia and Belarus, the only European countries still using the death penalty.

Mr Bowker believes capital punishment acts as a deterrent. In the USA there is no evidence that this is the case: rates of homicide, among the highest in the world, are higher in those states where capital punishment is applied than in the few states where there is no such sanction.

Similarly, rates of homicide have continued to rise in those states where the death penalty has been reintroduced.

Simon Sweeney,

Glebe Cottages,

Sheriff Hutton,


Updated: 10:42 Friday, November 25, 2005