Letter: Reconsidering executions for cowardice in the First World War

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The Independent Online
Sir: I always believed that failure to understand the effects of shell-shock led to many unfair executions for cowardice in the 1914-18 war. But now the Prime Minister assures us that these effects were recognised then.

Yet it is John Major's government that today refuses to acknowledge the effects of sustained domestic brutality on women driven to kill their spouses.

Each time proposals are put forward to change the law on provocation, or mandatory life sentences, to take the effects of this violence more fully into account, ministers shake their heads. They fear '. . . the effects any change would have on public confidence'.

There is more than one kind of cowardice.

Yours faithfully,

JACK ASHLEY

House of Lords,

London, SW1

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