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Government Minister “Hopes” Cannibalism at Sea is No Longer Necessary Thanks to New Technologies | UK News

Modern technologies should prevent stranded sailors from resorting to cannibalism, hopes a government minister.

Charlotte, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, a Conservative MP for House of Lords and Minister at the Ministry of Transport, gave his point of view after being pressed on the issue while discussing human rights at sea.

The conversation in the upper house took place after another member raised the bizarre legal precedent set at the end of the 19th century.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton.  Photo: Houses of Parliament
Baroness Vere of Norbiton. Photo: Houses of Parliament

It dates back to 1884, when Captain Tom Dudley and his companion Edwin Stephens ran aground at sea in a lifeboat following a shipwreck in the South Atlantic off the coast of Africa.

Cabin boy Richard Parker was with the couple, and in poor health according to the sailors.

After several weeks trapped on the insignificant, unsupplied ship, with their colleague near death, Dudley and Stephens made the decision to kill and eat him in order to fight starvation.

After being rescued and sent back to the UK, the couple justified their actions with a “custom of the sea” and hoped to avoid conviction.

However, this was rejected and the two men were later convicted of murder and sentenced to death – although this was later commuted to a six-month jail term by the Crown.

The case set a common law precedent that necessity is not a defense when charged with murder.

Today, Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate, an unaffiliated peer, said: “I remember as a young law student many years ago the case of Dudley and Stephens at the end of the 19th century.

“It was about a shipwreck which caused a number of sailors to board a lifeboat and, due to hunger and thirst, they alleged that it was necessary to kill and eat a young cabin boy to survive. “

He added: “Does the minister think that if the facts were repeated today, the human rights of the cabin boy …

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This notice was published: 2021-06-22 18:16:00

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