Grammar focus 10. Conditionals III.
Here are some examples of crimes, and the penalties chosen by particular judges. Read them and try to answer these questions:
1. Was justice done?
2. If you had been the judge, would you have given a different sentence?
3. Would you have chosen a lighter sentence or a more severe one?
4. How would you have felt if you had been the victim of the crime?
5. How would you have felt if you had been the defendant?
6. If you had been the judge, what other facts and circumstances would you have wanted to know?
Use this model:
I. MANSLAUGHTER (the act of killing someone, unlawfully, but not intentionally)
In 1981 Marianne Bachmeir, from Lubeck, West Germany, was in court watching the trial of Klaus Grabovski, who had murdered her 7-year-old daughter. Grabovski had a history of attacking children. During the trial Frau Bachmeir pulled a Berretta 22 pistol from her handbag and fired eight bullets, six of which hit Grabovski, killing him. The defence said she had bought the pistol with the intention of committing suicide, but when she saw Grabovski in court she drew the pistol and pulled the trigger. She was found not guilty of murder, but was given six years imprisonment for manslaughter. West German newspapers reflected the opinion of millions of Germans that she should have been freed, calling her 'the avenging mother'.
In 1952 two youths in London decided to rob a dairy. They were Christopher Craig, aged 16, and William Bentley, 19. During the robbery they were distorted by Sydney Miles, a policeman. Craig took a gun and killed the policeman. At that time Britain still had the death penalty for certain types of murder, including during a robbery. As Craig was under 18, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Bentley who had never touched the gun, was over 18. He was hanged in 1953. The case was quoted by opponents of capital punishment, which was abolished in 1965.
In 1976 a drunk walked into a supermarket. When the manager asked him to leave, the drunk assaulted him, knocking out a tooth. A policeman who arrived and tried to stop the fight had his jaw broken. The drunk was fined £ 10.
In June 1980 Lady Isabel Barnett, a well-known TV personality, was convicted of stealing a tin of tuna fish and a carton of cream, total value 87p, from a small shop. The case was given enormous publicity. She was fined £ 75 and had to pay £200 towards the cost of the case. A few days later she killed herself.
This is an example of a civil case rather than a criminal one. A man had taken out an insurance policy of £ 100,000 on his life. The policy was due to expire at 3 o'clock on a certain day. The man was in serious financial difficulties, and at 2.30 on the expiry day he consulted his solicitor. He then went out and called a taxi. He asked the driver to make a note of the time, 2.50. Then he shot himself. Suicide used not to cancel an insurance policy automatically. (It does nowadays.) The company refused to pay the man's wife, and the courts supported them.