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It should be stressed that the same concept or idea could be confirmed successfully by diametrically opposing points of view. Finding the truth depends on how thoroughly and critically the situation is examined. The basis of civic virtue lies in the ability to convincingly present one’s point of view, especially in cases when the truth might be contradictory. This paper will consider a situation when a best friend confides that he or she committed a violent crime against a known criminal. One argument is that the confidante should go to the police and report this information, for no one is above the law. Another reasoning is that one might argue that this information should be concealed since the person’s best friend is involved in it, thus, it is inappropriate to reveal the truth, law notwithstanding. The purpose of this paper is to investigate two opposing sides of an issue.
It is worth noting that a person hiding the fact of a committed crime becomes a criminal himself or herself. In the law, as well as in the moral life of society, it is considered that concealment, non-disclosure, and connivance are the types of implications to the crime. Initially, it can be assumed that concealment does not have a common criminal nature with the violation (Al Qudah 9). As stated by Jackson, it is difficult to “accurately and defensibly capture the different ways that individuals contribute to wrongdoing” (879). However, failure to provide information to the police, along with other circumstances, is causally linked to the committed crime and can lead to repeated misconduct. Thus, if a person does not contact the authorities about the fact of crime commitment, he or she becomes an accomplice to it and must bear the appropriate punishment for it.
In addition, determining criminal liability plays a crucial role in combating law violations. The preventive value of this type of liability is not fulfilled in the severity of punishment but in its inevitability. It is not important that a crucial punishment is imposed for a crime, but it is the fact that no criminal case remains undisclosed (Braswell et al. 187). Disclosure of misconduct is one of the most important conditions for a successful fight against crime and serves as a guarantor of the inevitability of punishment for breaking the law. Concealing a crime is a socially dangerous act, which seriously harms the fight against law violation and prevents the effective functioning of the justice system (Wrigley and Priaulx 171). Thus, by turning to the police, the person will fulfill his or her civic duty and will contribute to a more harmonious life of society in which there is no place for crime and impunity.
Concealing the information about the crime can be possible if its nature is adverse and dual. For instance, if the committed crime is directly linked to severe consequences for the friend’s family and the punishment does not cover the loss or damage. Law cannot consider all the possible aspects of crime and sometimes it is explainable that people might want to revenge (Wrigley and Priaulx 171). As stated by Al Qudah “much of the controversy surrounding the discussion of the moral foundations of criminalization and the imposition of criminal liability relates to the question as to whether certain types of behaviours should be criminalized because of ‘individual intuition’ of their immorality” (8). For example, if the perpetrator was a pedophile-rapist and the victim was the friend’s child, it might be understandable that the parent might resort to lynching and some people will find it natural. This approach is referred to such cases when no severe actions were made towards the known criminal (such as killing or adverse effects to health), but the crime did take place. This is a controversial context, and a person might choose to have passive civil position. That is to say, he or she intentionally chooses to remain silent as the crime involves such complex ethical concerns that are beyond individual’s reasoning.
Further on, in some cases, the best friend is equal to a family member and the ethics suggests that a person is not obliged to reveal certain information about family members. From the legal point of view, if the person is not technically related to the individual, he or she shall not be considered a family member. Nevertheless, moral reasoning, ethics, and morale lie beyond legal provisions (Braswell et al. 189). For some people, a friend might be much more a family than his or her parents were. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that someone might consider the best friend a family member and he or she will be reluctant to disclose any information to the police relying on the idea that no person has to testify against family members. Thus, it is not always possible to decide whether particular conduct of a person was proper or not (Jackson 880).
It can be concluded that adherence to law is the basic principle of secure society life. Nevertheless, it cannot review all the possible situations since human relationships are complex. Thus, many issues can emerge, which will influence the way the situation is perceived and should be evaluated. In the situation discussed throughout the paper, it is impossible to affirm unequivocally which of the two ways is correct due to the fact that the context is unclear. Nevertheless, it can be stated that committing a crime is impermissible. If everyone with no exclusions follows the law and the basic ethical postulates, there will be no need to weigh the facts in favor of a specific argument since no crime will be committed in the first place.
Al Qudah, Mouaid. “The Moral Foundations of Criminal Liability.” Intellectual Property Rights, vol. 2, no. 3, 2014, Web.
Braswell, Michael, et al. Justice, Crime, and Ethics. Routledge, 2014.
Jackson, M. (2016). “The Attribution of Responsibility and Modes of Liability in International Criminal Law.” Leiden Journal of International Law, vol. 29, no. 3, 2016, Web.
Wrigley, Anthony, and Nicky Priaulx. Ethics, Law and Society. Ashgate Publishing, 2013.