Linked by David Adams on Mon 25th Jun 2012 19:32 UTC, submitted by Adurbe
In the News The BBC reports on a Turing scholar's recent claims that by today's standard of evidence, there's reason to doubt the commonly-held belief that the famed computing pioneer committed suicide in response to government persecution over his homosexuality. To be clear, he does not claim to have disproved the suicide theory -- only that the cyanide poisoning that killed Turing could well have been an accident caused by his careless at-home experimentation with dangerous chemicals.
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um... rule of law?
by _score on Tue 26th Jun 2012 03:28 UTC
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Have to disagree with the interpretations of some of the article: the UK government would not have had the capacity to shield Turing from prosecution. That's confusing the relationship between the different functions of government, and the basic principle of the common law that everyone domestically (except for, in limited circumstances, the Queen) has to be equally vulnerable to the law.

It's like - if he had been a murderer, no-one would have sought to protect him. Homosexual acts (not homosexuality per se - another error) were equally illegal at the time, we just think of them in a different way now. It's a bit much to expect politics to interfere with judicial decisions, and at that point you're reaching an American rather than Commonwealth system of justice.

Talking of which - Von Braun never committed crimes within US jurisdiction: his protection was from publicity, rumour, and innuendo, not the legal system. That's a fundamental difference between the cases.

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