HomeR v. Dudley and Stephen 14 QBD 273 DC

Facts

Dudley, Stephen and Richard Parker were all part of the crew of a yacht which got cast away due to a severe storm. While stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean, the men had nothing to eat. They had not eaten anything for seven days and on this day, Dudley and Stephen spoke about potentially sacrificing one life to save the rest. They decided to take the life of Richard Parker by inserting a knife into his throat and on being finally rescued, they were charged for murder.

Issue

Whether killing somebody can be considered as a necessity to save one’s own life?

Analysis

The Court pointed out that it is not an absolute necessity to save one’s life. The Court observed that if law and morality are totally separated from each other, it would be fatal and treating the act of the two men here as an absolute necessity would be a good example of that. Moreover, the Court insisted that it is not a necessity to kill someone who is the weakest and is likely to die.

Conclusion

It was held that this was a willful murder as killing someone, even if it is for saving one’s own life is not a necessity.

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