Emotion Versus Intellect Essay

1464 words - 6 pages

Rob Stewart Emotion versus intellect. Do you think this is a fair description of the arguments in "Murmuring Judges"? The answer is yes, on the surface! The arguments are a little more complex than they sound initially. Emotion can often be made to sound like a weakness, but it is important to note the definition - "strong, instinctive feelings". The definition of intellect on the other hand is the "faculty of knowing and reasoning; understanding". However it could be argued that someone in possession of the former can also be in possession of the latter by dint of their working experience. An emotional argument is not necessarily weaker than an intellectual one, although it may be portrayed as such.The main argument for us to consider in "Murmuring Judges" is of a criminal justice system that is cracking at the seams. The judges do not appear to be unduly affected by this. From the play, it would appear to be more a problem for the police, prison service, and government. The police are shown to be well aware of the systems limitations, whilst the prison service takes a phlegmatic view.We are shown a cross section of the judiciary, the police, the judges and the prison service. The play opens in scene one with Gerard McKinnon being sentenced to five years imprisonment and he is aware of the gulf that separates him from the judge, "one of them silver-haired, judicious, informed, they will go home to their wives, to wine in fine glasses...". This impression is heightened in scene two with a little duet between Mr Justice Cuddeford and Sir Peter Edgecombe QC with public school sounding nicknames "Beaky Harris was meant to be leading the defence", and cricket phraseology "it spoils your bowling average", being used. We are also introduced to Irina Platt who has just joined chambers, she is black and clearly attractive which no doubt helped her appointment, although she will not see it that way. She is idealistic and believes a miscarriage of justice to have taken place because of Gerard's Irish connections; "your sentence was harsh. By any standards, it was ridiculous". Gerard clearly feels she is being "emotional", "you've been worried?....You've thought of me?", Irina replies "yes I've been worried, and yes, I'm a lawyer. The two things can go together, you know". However Sir Peter, counsel for defence, is prepared to accept the sentence as it is and makes the following intellectual argument, "the young man did everything wrong. He told a complete pack of lies. He persisted in them long after he should. I don't have to tell you the Appeal Court will be starkly prejudiced against him".Whilst this is going on WPC Sandra Bingham is having a similar emotional argument with DC Barry Hopper, the arresting officer in the McKinnon case. She feels something is not right, the sentence is too long for the crime. Barry also points out that he "told a pack of lies" and points to racial intolerance too, "he was kind of Irish as well". Barry clearly believes...

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