Melford Stevenson (17 October 1902 – 26 December 1987) was an English
High Court judge. He was Judge Advocate at the 1945 war crimes trial of
submariners from the U-852 for the Peleus affair. In 1954 Stevenson
represented the UK Government during Jomo Kenyatta’s unsuccessful appeal
against his conviction for his part in the Mau Mau Uprising. He
represented the litigants in the Crichel Down affair, which led to
changes in the law on compulsory purchase. In 1955 he defended Ruth
Ellis, the last woman to be executed in the UK, and in 1957 took part in
the unsuccessful prosecution of suspected serial killer John Bodkin
Adams. As a High Court judge he gave life sentences in 1969 to the Kray
twins for murder, and in 1971 gave Jake Prescott of the Angry Brigade
fifteen years for conspiracy to cause explosions. When another judge,
Sir Robin Dunn, described him as “the worst judge since the war”, Lord
Roskill pointed out that Stevenson could be merciful to those he saw as
victims. He retired in 1979, and died in 1987.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
Poczta Polska, the Polish postal service, was founded by order
of King Sigismund II Augustus.
German astronomer Johannes Kepler observed an exceptionally
bright star, now known as Kepler’s Supernova (remnant nebula pictured),
which had suddenly appeared in the constellation Ophiuchus.
The Empire of Japan completed the Burma Railway to support its
forces in the Burma Campaign of World War II at the cost of
approximately 100,000 lives of forced labourers.
The 6.9 Mw Loma Prieta earthquake struck California’s San
Francisco Bay Area, killing 63 people, injuring 3,757, and leaving at
least 8,000 homeless.
Israeli Minister of Tourism Rehavam Ze’evi became the first
Israeli minister to be assassinated in a terrorist attack.
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
One who practices chiromancy; a palm reader.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Poetry, as nearly as I can understand it, is a statement in words
about a human experience, whether the experience be real or
hypothetical, major or minor; but it is a statement of a particular
kind. Words are symbols for concepts, and the philosopher or scientist
endeavors as far as may be to use them with reference to nothing save
their conceptual content. Most words, however, connote feelings and
perceptions, and the poet, like the writer of imaginative prose,
endeavors to use them with reference not only to their denotations but
to their connotations as well. Such writers endeavor to communicate not
only concepts, arranged, presumably, either in rational order or in an
order of apprehensible by the rational mind, but the feeling or emotion
which the rational content ought properly to arouse.
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