Capital Punishment Defences – Insanity, Lack of Intelligence, Undue Influence, and Duress

Capital Punishment Defences – Insanity, Lack of Intelligence, Undue Influence, and Duress

  • Caveat – Canada as a nation does not have capital punishment. Nor do we send people who flee here back to nations that would take their life for a crime. That doesn’t mean we let them off the hook. It doesn’t mean we would accept them as a refugee either. But if asked, we might look into the case.

It isn’t just innocence that makes us balk at this concept. Though we have had some famous cases of people who spent years in prison for crimes they didn’t commit. Imagine if we had killed them, and found out later they were innocent?

We also know that ‘evidence’ can be misread, tampered with, lost and ‘witnesses’ and ‘experts’ can be biased and have their own agenda. And we know that there is so much unknown as yet of the brain and it’s ‘reasoning’ or ‘motives’, so when you use words like ‘forethought’ or ‘malicious intent’, you could be ascribing motives the person just doesn’t have or isn’t even capable of. And we also know that intelligence is a social factor that is aligned to poverty and resources, not strictly mental capacity.

Capital punishment is also not a deterrent, nor is it cost effective vs a prison or treatment ‘sentence’. It does nothing but implement revenge. Someone may have planned to kill someone (first degree murder), yet been well within their rights and responsibilities to do so. Or they may at the time have not been exercising moral or sound judgement, yet not been technically insane or inebriated (high on drugs or alcohol).

It’ also doesn’t show a good model, when the govt can with sound judgement act in revenge, without considering if the person was under duress or incapable of sound judgement and could have recovered or been treated but we denied them that avenue. How do we show we have good morals?

Which is why Canada as a nation, and the majority of it’s citizens have decided not to practice this. Though sometimes we have cases that truly do affect our emotions and our standing on this. But the role of the govt is to be calm and show thought, not enact revenge.

….. relevant questions

  • Is the person capable of rational judgement?
    (the answer to this is no or they wouldn’t have gone to the lengths of murdering someone. There is obv a flaw)
  • Were they coerced or manipulated into their actions?
  • Are they a risk to society?
    (the answer to this is unknown – Could the same string of events, influences and feelings about them reoccur? This requires predictive analysis or a crystal ball)
  • Is there another way to deal with this case?
    (the answer to this is yes, since we have forensic treatments available. and secure facilities)
  • Is justice fair and impartial?
    (no or we wouldn’t have more poor male BIPOC inhabitants in prison, would we?)
  • What about their human rights? Can you as a nation or state incarcerate, hold or kill someone humanely?
    (no – it’s a degree of harm situation at best)


Other countries don’t agree obv or we’d all have the same POV.


The United Nations system as a whole, including UNODC, opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances (UNODC, 2010; UNODC, 2012; UNODC, 2016). The UN recognizes that because it is irreversible, the death penalty is opposed even when backed by legal process. An increasingly large number of States from all regions have acknowledged that the death penalty undermines human dignity, and that its abolition contributes to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights. In fact, the global trend is towards abolition. Currently, the great majority of UN Member States have either abolished the death penalty or do not practice it.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s