Letter: Mixed feelings

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The Independent Online
Sir: Sara Thornton (Letters, 6 October), arguing for a royal pardon for Derek Bentley, asks: 'What about feelings?' An answer is provided by a glance at Yugoslavia. It is not objective reasoning that leads Serbs, Croats and Muslims to kill one another.

Feelings are not necessarily, or even predominantly, merciful and compassionate. Joy at the execution of a young man who took part in an armed robbery is a feeling. Cool doubt about the interpretation of the evidence and the validity of the verdict would have led to a decision that Ms Thornton and I agree in regarding as preferable.

Yours faithfully,


St Andrews, Fife