I believe it is safe to say that Bentley's case would have had a different outcome had he been tried in the 21st century. Britian no longer executes their criminals and most certainly Bentley's circumstances would have weighted heavily in his favor. His borderline low IQ in itself would have spared him his eventual fate. The fact that he was not the actual killer but an accomplice would also be considered. So, l guess the answer is 'yes' to a certain degree, he was a victim of the justice system he faced.
Bentley and Craig were charged with murder. They were tried by jury before the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Goddard, at the Old Bailey in London between 9 December and 11 December 1952. Bentley was originally scheduled to be hanged on 30 December 1952 but this was postponed to allow for an appeal. Bentley's lawyers filed appeals highlighting the ambiguities of the ballistic evidence, Bentley's mental age and the fact that he did not fire the fatal shot. Bentley's appeal was unsuccessful on 13 January 1953. The Bentley case created a cause célèbre and led to a 45-year-long campaign to win Derek Bentley a posthumous pardon, which was granted partially in 1993, then completely in 1998.
Derek Bently & Christopher Craig. Craig had the gun, which may or may not have been the weapon used to shoot the policeman, PC Sidney Miles. Bentley was aged 19 which meant he was hanged. Of all the Miscarriages of Justice that appall the British Legal System this is about the most blatant act of Judicial Murder in history. The words 'let him have it' are either ambiguous to the nth degree or were simply never said. Either way the hanging of Derek Bentley cannot be justified in my view. Craig served time, 10 years, in prison & went on to be, so I believe, a model citizen on his release. No, there were more hangings until abolition in the 1960s.
I am not sure if I have seen this film at all: But I am aware of some of the circumstances in the case which led to Bentley being hanged for the killing of policeman Sydney Miles. It was accepted that Bentley did not fire the shot, indeed I believe it was accepted by the Court that at the time the shot was fired Bentley was in fact under arrest. But Christoper Craig, who after a time in prison went on, apparrently, to become a model citizen, was not 18 years old and therefore could not face a Capital charge. Because Bentley was 18 he could, despite having a mental age of about 10. This remains, in my view, a stark case against Capital Punishment & a terrible miscarriage of Justice.
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