Under the Common Purpose doctrine anyone who was present at a homicide and was judged to be of one mind with the killer was also guilty. If Common Purpose is applied, instead of being found guilty as an accessory, the onlooker can also be judged a murderer.
Judge Meyer was one of the judges who felt increasingly uneasy during the days when it was clear the old order was losing power. What kind of an object lesson was it, they asked themselves, if a mob kills a policeman, to sentence only one person? How was that going to stop a communist-inspired revolution? Insurrection seemed to be everywhere. If blood was going to run, let it be the blood of revolutionaries, they thought, the more the better. Not all judges agreed with that sort of thinking, but there were plenty who did.
Yudel Gordon saw the killing himself. One man, at the centre of an excited mob, did the killing, but only one. Judge Meyer’s view was different. To him every member of the mob had the same purpose. All were equally guilty. That meant death for all of them. It was a doctrine that had been applied a few times in other cases.
Advocate Andrea Statham wants Yudel’s help in the defence of her clients. The prosecutor, who is under Judge Meyer’s control, wants his help on their side of the argument. He is after all an employee of Correctional Services, a government department. And before the trial Judge Meyer has already made up his mind.
The case is a recipe for confusion that becomes even more confused when, in the court room, Yudel arranges an example of the problems around the blind acceptance of witness testimony. His demonstration is striking, but Judge Meyer is not amused by the chaos Yudel causes in his coutroom.
Years later this case returned to Yudel out of the vast array of criminal actions stored in his memory. Pressing in on him right now, as he approaches retirement age, is something quite different. A white supremacist suspect feels he has lost his country and is planning to sacrifice the children in a school hostel to show his anger at this loss. The security policemen in whose custody he is, are unable to get him to reveal the location of the bomb. Yudel’s challenge is to find the hostel, before he blows it up, and so save the children.
Read the book, DELUGE. It will be released next week.
Read about the creating of Yudel here.
The synopsis for DELUGE is here.