IMMEDIATE 19.30 Friday 16th June 2006
A prominent Christian lobby group has called for the return of the death penalty following the convictions of the murderers of Jody Dobrowski and Ben Bellamy.
Christian Voice, which has led the protests over Jerry Springer the Opera, and has held acts of Christian witness during homosexual events, described both Jody Dobrowski, a homosexual barman, and Ben Bellamy, a Swansea teenager, as 'made in the image of God.'
Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said: 'Our hearts and our prayers are with the families of both these young men, as the British Courts struggle to meet out true justice in the absence of the death penalty. Both Thomas Pickford and Scott Walker, who killed Dobrowski in an unprovoked attack and Joel Taylor and Joshua Thomas, who beat Bellamy to death, took an innocent life, Both pairs of murderers were soundly convicted on the evidence of witnesses. All four should have paid the ultimate price.
'The Bible says "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God made he man." Those words were given in God's covenant with Noah for mankind for perpetuity. The fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins shows that God has not altered His requirements for justice.'
However, the different sentences handed down by the two judges in the two cases were criticised by Christian Voice. Stephen Green went on: 'In the case of Jody Dobrowski, his killers were sentenced to a minimum of 28 years, because the judge applied the aggravating factor of their motive being the sexual orientation of their victim. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/5087286.stm
'In that of Ben Bellamy, Taylor and Thomas will only have to serve a minimum of 22 and 18 years respectively. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_west/5084160.stm
'That is all to do with aggravation on the grounds of sexual orientation. The State has declared that beating a homosexual to death is a worse crime that the brutal murder of a heterosexual teenager. To put it bluntly, Ben Bellamy's life was not as valuable as that of Jody Dobrowski. How can such partiality, favouring one victim over another, possibly be justified?
'The truth is, both lives were equally valuable in the eyes of God, and both crimes were equally worthy of the ultimate penalty. Until the United Kingdom seeks again the kingdom and the righteousness of Almighty God, obscene anomalies like these two different sentences on the same day will keep recurring, and families will be left with the feeling that there is no justice in this land.'