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Commonwealth of Newgarth

Supreme Court

EN BANC

PEOPLE OF GR. No. 12452


NEWGARTH
Petitioner, Present:
SASHIMI, J. (Reales, Nina) -
1550137, Chairperson,
-versus- DURA LEX SED LEX. (Sumido,
Rowena) – 1750027,
BLUE ANGEL (Feria, Carmela) -
1650116.
THE SPELUNCEAN
EXPLORERS
Respondents.
Promulgated:
x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
DECISION
Sashimi, J. 1550137

Murder as defined internationally is the unlawful killing of another


human being with malice afterthought. The law is clear, “Whoever shall
willfully take the life of another person shall be punished by death.” It
should be interpreted as it is and should be applied accordingly.

The five explorers were put in a situation wherein they must do


anything for them to be able to survive. However, killing a person

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against his will is clearly a crime. Whatever the reason may be. There
is no justification for killing another person.

Good intentions do not always lead to good actions. In natural


law, it is said that humans are capable of discerning good and evil. The
law of necessity is no defense to murder. The defendants are in no
situation of necessity on the day they killed Roger Whetmore.

Also, survival of the fittest cannot be applied in this case. As what


the philosopher Herbert Spencer said, the law is not the survival of the
“better” or “stronger.” It is the survival of those which are
constitutionally fittest to thrive under conditions in which they are
placed; and very often that which, humanly speaking, is inferiority,
causes the survival.

The fittest can be the most loving and selfless, not the most
aggressive or violent. Survival of the fittest or originally the natural
selection is simply a description of what happens in the living world. It
does not tell us how we should behave.

Whereas, the judgement of conviction and the sentence imposed


by the lower court should be AFFIRMED and the defendants
CONVICTED for the crime of murder.

SO ORDERED.

Sashimi, J., 1550137


(Reales, Nina)
Chief Justice

I concur: I dissent:

Dura Lex Sed Lex -1750027 Blue Angel – 1650116


(Sumido, Rowena) (Feria, Carmela)

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CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify


that the conclusions in the above Decision has been reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion
of the Court.

Sashimi, J., 1550137


(Reales, Nina)
Chief Justice

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CONCURRING OPINION

Dura Lex Sed Lex, 1750027:


I affirm the conviction and the sentence of the Court of General
Instances to stand as it is. The defendants have been found guilty of
murder and the law must prevail.

Amidst the intricacies of the opinion and theories presented in


The Case of the Speluncean Explorers, one feels bewildered as to
which idea should be given weight and credit when deciding the fate of
the survivors. The unique and arduous predicament they have
undergone as well as the loss of lives during their rescue, gives the
reader a massive sense of pity and regret. Placing one’s self on the
explorer’s shoes and to imagine going through the experience would
be horrifying indeed.

To decide on the facts of the case based on the tenets of the law
is a different matter altogether. Upon all the facts presented, the issue
of the case arises: Whether or Not the accused are guilty of murder?

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To revisit the case, the trapped explorers was in a quandary as
to how they may survive without food inside the cave when they had
no definite time as to when they may be rescued. It was found out that
Whetmore (the deceased) came up with the idea to choose one among
themselves (the marooned explorers), someone to be eaten so as to
save the rest of the group. Before the dice were cast, he decided to
withdraw from the arrangement. The others charged him with a breach
of faith and proceeded to cast the dice. (Casting the dice was the
chosen mode of selecting as to who should be killed and eaten.) The
throw went against him, and he was then put to death and eaten by his
companions.

Based on the facts, he was unwilling to pursue the idea and that
there was no meeting of the minds and thus no contract has been
forged among them. In this case it is clear that the survivors have
taken the life of Whetmore wilfully and thus committed murder. On the
language of their statute: "Whoever shall wilfully take the life of another
shall be punished by death." N. C. S. A. (N. s.) § 12-A. It is further
added that this statute permits of no exception applicable to this case.
All the elements of murder are present in this case and the defendants
must face their judgement. The Latin maxim “Dura lex, sed lex” (“The
law may be harsh, but it is the law”) is apt in this case. It follows from
the principle of the rule of law that even draconian laws must be
followed and enforced; if one disagrees with the result, one must seek
to change the law.

In saying thus, I also hold the belief that a commutation of their


sentence should also be considered, if their law so allows. To survive
such an ordeal just to face the hangman’s noose is a tragedy beyond
belief. As to the question whether executive clemency should be
extended to the convicted defendants? That decision would be entirely
up to the Chief Executive.

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WHEREFORE, I vote that the finding of facts and conclusion of
Law of the Court of general Instance be AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATIONS. Respondents are found guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of murder.

Dura Lex Sed Lex, 1750027


(Sumido, Rowena)
Associate Justice

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DISSENTING OPINION

Blue Angel, 1650116:


I remain in my stand that the Defendants must be acquitted. The
main question to be answered in this judicial dilemma is whether the
plain meaning rule of our law should be applied as it states, “Whoever
shall willfully take the life of another shall be punished by death.” In a
case as extraordinary as this, it is crystal clear that the answer to such
question is a resounding No. Applying the plain meaning of the law will
not give justice to the ten lives already lost in the rescue of the
defendants and it definitely will not give justice to the already
unfortunate defendants.

I am not convinced by Sashimi, J. Contrary to her claim, the


Defendants did not commit the crime of murder intentionally. The
question to be answered here is, “Given the extraordinariness of the
situation in which the men found themselves in, and the starvation
being the factor that affected their just reasoning, was the killing of
Whetmore intentional?” The answer to me is a resounding NO. These
men did not wish to eat one of their own. They did not enter the cave

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with such an intention. Even the act of killing is blanketed by
desperation, and most importantly the absence of reasoning due to
malnutrition.

I am not convinced by Dura Lex Sed Lex. The law is harsh, but
it is the law. But we must not hastily interpret the law in its technical
sense in a case as extraordinary as this. Otherwise, we fail to deliver
justice.

Therefore, I dissent the decision of the lower court. I remain in


my ground on acquitting the Defendants due to two compelling
reasons: First, that the defendants were unjustly convicted and
second, they did not intentionally kill Whetmore.

To expound on the first ground that the Defendants were unjustly


convicted due to the wrong application of legal procedure, it is
important to dissect the manner of which the defendants were deprived
of a special verdict despite the extraordinary nature of their case. Now,
a special verdict is not alien to Newgarth. The facts of the case
elaborated that the foreman of the jury inquired of the court whether
the jury might not find a special verdict based only on the facts as
found. Clearly, a special verdict is acknowledged in the courts of this
country. Otherwise, the foreman will not have inquired for the court to
come up with a judgement without a special verdict. Given that this
case is already exceptional as it is, a special verdict is a must and not
just an option! There should have been consultations with a
psychiatrist to evaluate the state of minds of these Defendants to see
if they acted with intent but instead, the trial was cut short and justice
was denied.

Second, the Defendants were evidently starving as the facts


already stated. Many scientific studies, particularly a research in
Minessota was able to conclude that madness is one of the symptoms
of starvation. The Minnesota Starvation Experiment concludes that

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starvation causes poor judgement and even hysteria. Simply stated,
the explorers are unable to come up with an alternative because they
were driven mad by starvation. This is enough to compel me that the
defendants were without intent when they killed and ate one of their
own.

WHEREFORE, I vote that the finding of facts and conclusion of


Law of the Court of General Instance be REVERSED.

Blue Angel, 1650116


(Feria, Carmela)
Associate Justice