QUOTE 1: “If our criminal law is to be respected, the public conscience has to be satisfied, and it will not be satisfied if gross violence, and sometimes bestial crime, is not punished in a way that will satisfy the public. There are old people who go trembling to their doors at night.”
QUOTE 2: “They are sentenced because it is society’s method of showing that if that conduct or those acts are persisted in certain consequences which must be unpleasant and must be punitive will result. I have never yet understood how you can make the criminal law a deterrent unless it is also punitive. The two things seem to me to follow one on the other.” [Speech in the House of Lords, 28 April 1948]
QUOTE 3: “There is one other consideration which I believe should never be overlooked. If the criminal law of this country is to be respected, it must be in accordance with public opinion, and public opinion must support it. That goes very nearly to the root of this question of capital punishment. I cannot believe or the public opinion (or would I rather call it the public conscience) of this country will tolerate that persons who deliberately condemn others to painful and, it may be, lingering deaths should be allow to live…” [Speech in the House of Lords, 28 April 1948]
QUOTE 4: “I know that in uttering this sentiment I shall not have the sympathies of everyone but, in my humble opinion, I believe that there are many, many cases where the murderer should be destroyed.” [Speech in the House of Lords, 28 April 1948]
QUOTE 5: “The supreme crime should carry the supreme penalty.” [Speech in the House of Lords, 10 July 1956]
QUOTE 6: “My sentiments are more in favour of the victim than they are of the murderer. There is a tendency nowadays when any matter of criminal law is discussed to think far more of the criminal than his victim.” [Speech in the House of Lords, 10 July 1956]
QUOTE 7: “Is this the time to remove what rightly or wrongly the police and prison service believe to be their main protection against attack? We have to remember that our police are armed with a short baton, the only weapon they have against these gunmen and other people who do not hesitate to shoot and take the lives of policemen. If this (Death Penalty Abolition) bill passes I am sure it will encourage resignation from the police forces and make recruitment more difficult.” [Speech in the House of Lords, 10 July 1956]
QUOTE 8: Lord Goddard recalled a brutal assault on a wife in which the accused said, “If it was not that I would swing for you, I would do you in.”
He went on, “That is the sort of thing the death penalty prevents. I do not want to joke in this matter, but would be the effect on such people if they knew that they would be sent to a sanatorium or some other comfortable place if they committed murder?” [Speech in the House of Lords, 10 July 1956]
QUOTE 9: “I believe the fear of the rope, as it is generally called among certain classes, is a very great deterrent.” [Speech in the House of Lords, 10 July 1956]
QUOTE 10: “If this bill passed, judges will not be able to give any greater punishment for deliberate murder than they can give now for burglary, for breaking into a church (sacrilege), or for forging a will.” [Speech in the House of Lords, 10 July 1956]
QUOTE 11: The Lord Chief Justice recalled the case when a bandit caught after a chase in London fired low at a young constable. “He fired low because he knew what the consequences would be if he murdered the policeman. When he was arrested his first question was, ‘Is the copper dead?’ That is what he was afraid of…These instances make me say with all the earnestness I can command: do not gamble with the lives of the police.” [Speech in the House of Lords, 10 July 1956]
QUOTE 12: “Are these people to be kept alive?” [Speech in the House of Lords, 10 July 1956]
QUOTE 13: “I should shrink from the very idea of saying that the sentence of murder should be life imprisonment in the full sense.” [Speech in the House of Lords, 10 July 1956]
QUOTE 14: “Your lordships can be assured that the only people hung are those guilty of cruel, deliberate murder without mitigation…I put my views strongly because from experience, one gets to feel strong views in these matters and should not be afraid to express them. When a man deliberately murders another he is committing the supreme crime, and should pay the supreme penalty.” [Speech in the House of Lords, 10 July 1956]
AUTHOR: Rayner Goddard, Baron Goddard (10 April 1877 - 29 May 1971) was Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales from 1946 to 1958 and known for his strict sentencing and conservative views. He was nicknamed the 'Tiger' and "Justice-in-a-jiffy" for his no-nonsense manner. He once dismissed six appeals in one hour in 1957.
In 1948 backbench pressure in the House of Commons forced through an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill to the effect that capital punishment should be suspended for five years and all death sentences automatically commuted to life imprisonment. The Bill also sought to abolish judicial corporal punishment in both its then forms, the cat-o'-nine-tails and the birch. Goddard attacked the Bill in the House of Lords, making his maiden speech, saying he agreed with the abolition of, the "cat", but not birching, which he regarded as an effective punishment for young offenders. He also disagreed with the automatic commutation of death sentences, believing that it was contrary to the Bill of Rights.
In a debate, he once referred to a case he had tried of an agricultural labourer who had assaulted a jeweller; Goddard gave him a short two months' imprisonment and twelve strokes of the birch because "I was not then depriving the country of the services of a good agricultural labourer over the harvest". The suspension of capital punishment was reversed by 181 to 28, and a further amendment to retain the birch was also passed (though the Lords were later forced to give way on this issue). As the crime rate continued to rise, Goddard became convinced that the Criminal Justice Act 1948 was responsible as it was a 'Gangster's Charter'. He held a strong belief that punishment had to be punitive in order to be effective, a view also shared at the time by Lord Denning.
After retiring as Lord Chief Justice, Goddard continued to intervene occasionally in Lords debates and public speeches to put forward his views in favour of judicial corporal punishment. On 12 December 1960 he said in the House of Lords that the law was too much biased in favour of the criminal, as he was to assert to David Yallop nearly ten years later. Goddard also expressed his opposition to the legalisation of homosexual acts on 24 May 1965. His last-ever speech in the House of Lords was in April 1968 at the age of 91, praising the City of London's law courts.
However, despite stating his opposition to Bentley's execution, Goddard still expressed his strong support for the death penalty and asserted that the law was biased in favour of the criminal, as he did almost ten years before.