Saturday 17 October 2009

Legal Oddity...

A teenager was granted bail today when she appeared in court for the first time charged with the murder of an elderly woman who died after an arson attack at her nursing home.
So far, so terribly ordinary for modern Britain, with the slight surprising aspect being that this is a female...

But then, it gets odder:
Irene Herring, 85, was rescued by firefighters from her top-floor, single-occupancy room at Ancaster Court in Hastings Road, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, on February 1.

She was treated by paramedics and taken to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings where she died the following day.
So, the fire was on Feb 1 and she died on Feb 2.

So, how come this is the charge?
Rebecca Reasbeck, 18, who was originally arrested on suspicion of Mrs Herring's murder a week after her death, is alleged to have carried out the offence between the dates of January 31 and February 3.

How long was this fire burning for, and how could she be charged with a murder that occurred after the death of the victim? What am I missing here?


increasinglymiffed said...

You sound as cross and frustrated at the world we live in as me!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is some extra-safe bracketing, there. I believe that, for a charge of murder, the victim must have died within one year (used to be 1 year and 1 day) of the action which is attributed as a cause of death. Thus, murder charges have to show an early bound to the causative action, and a later bound to the death of the victim, the difference between which must be no more than 1 year.

But the way this is phrased is ridiculously 'safe'.

TheFatBigot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheFatBigot said...

I think the answer is that "between the dates of January 31 and February 3" is an accurate description of 1st and 2nd of Feb. Those two days come after the 31st of Jan and before the 3rd of Feb, hence the period between 31st Jan and 3rd Feb is the two days of 1st and 2nd Feb.

If in doubt, think of this: "the baked beans are between the tinned peas and the pickled walnuts on the middle shelf". The peas and walnuts are outside the outer limits of the bean section, hence "between peas and walnuts" excludes both peas and walnuts but includes the whole of the bean section.

As to the year-and-a-day rule, I believe that has been abolished entirely. It was a curious historical quirk that served no real purpose.

James Higham said...

Still needs the key thrown away, even if she is female, as you point out, Julia. A crim's a crim, no matter what gender.

JuliaM said...

"You sound as cross and frustrated at the world we live in as me!"

There's a lot to be cross and frustrated with, unfortunately...

"But the way this is phrased is ridiculously 'safe'."

It's pretty confusing for the average paper reader!

"If in doubt, think of this..."

That works! Cheers :)

"A crim's a crim, no matter what gender."

indeed. But arson isn't usually a female weapon of choice.