The Regina v. Dudley & Stephens case is one of the most important cases in common law history regarding the relationship between criminal law and morality. This case is based upon three men, including Dudley, Stephens and a young boy that were stranded at sea on a small emergency boat after they were forced to abandon their ship because of a dangerous storm. On the 18th day, they were stranded at sea, with no food and no water, one of the men (Dudley) thought it was a good idea to draw straws to decide which man should give up his life for the needs of the others on the raft (cannibalism). As a result to the idea, Stephens agreed to the “drawing,” while the third man refused. Dudley and Stephens noticed that the boy was ill and did not have a family like theirs, so they decided that rather than sacrifice the life of a healthy grown man with a family, it would be more practical to kill the boy and eat him while they wait to be rescued. Therefore, Dudley eventually killed the boy by cutting his throat. The three men fed upon the body and blood of the boy for four days. On the fourth day after the act had been committed, the boat was picked up by a passing boat and the prisoners were rescued. After their rescue, Dudley and Stephens were promptly brought back to England to face a trial for the charge of murder. In my opinion, I believe that the men should be considered guilty based upon Natural Law and its philosophers.
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