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According to the CNN Wire staff (2010), Peter Bethune an anti-whaling activist has been "given a two-year suspended prison sentence and five years' probation" (Para.1). This judgment was passed by a judge at the Tokyo district court in regard to the role of Bethune who boarded a whaling ship in Japan.  The court found that, Bethune was guilty of five counts of charges that ranged from trespassing into the whaling ships as well as assaulting the whalers who were on boards the ship.  This came after Bethune antecedently declared he was not guilty to all the mentioned charges except assault which could have landed him up to15 years in jail. The probation was accorded after the Sea Shepherd Conservation described the assault as less severe because Bethune used butyric acid which is less harmful.


Siegel (2009) highlights that; a court can let out a prisoner on probation where the prisoner will be placed under the care of a probation officer. Probation is usually employed when the court of law put a prisoner on suspension and during this time, the prisoner is accorded an opportunity to prove worthy to be free.  However, if a prisoner on probation fails to satisfy the probation office, the prisoner will be returned to jail in order to serve the sentence. In the case of Bethune, the court decided to grant him probation after the Sea Shepherd Conservation argued that his intention was right and that the used was less harmful.

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From the argument raised in the Japanese District court, it is evident that despite the actions of Bethune in boarding the whaling ship and assaulting the crew being a crime, his testimony proved that he had no intention of hurting the crew but just a way of expressing his anger against the whaler. Many people, whaling is considered an illegal activity and many activists like Bethune are striving to end it. Furthermore, the butyric acid used by Bethune is harmless as this acid is contained in vomit and butter. Indeed, Bethune is more likely to prove worthy to be free.

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