Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Whole-life Sentences For Most Dangerous Criminals

Their ruling also means the UK government avoids another confrontation with Strasbourg, following disagreements over issues like prisoner voting. Scots law did not face the same challenge as its equivalent sentence an order of lifelong restriction has a minimum term after which the prisoner will be assessed. The panel of five judges at the Court of Appeal also increased the unduly lenient 40-year minimum being served by killer Ian McLoughlin, who murdered a man while on day release, to a whole-life term. And they dismissed a challenge by Lee Newell, who murdered a child killer while in prison, against an order imposed in his case that he can never be released. Giving the panels ruling, Lord Thomas said the court had held that the statutory scheme enacted by Parliament which enabled judges to pass whole-life orders was entirely compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. Judges should therefore continue as they have done to impose whole-life orders in those rare and exceptional cases which fall within the statutory scheme, he added. Under the statutory scheme as enacted by Parliament, the Secretary of State has power to release a prisoner on licence if he is satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist which justify the prisoners release on compassionate grounds. After the ruling, Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who referred the McLoughlin sentence to the court for review, said: I am pleased that the Court of Appeal has today confirmed that those who commit the most heinous crimes can be sent to prison for the rest of their lives. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling added: I think people in Britain will be glad that our courts have disagreed with the European Court of Human Rights, and upheld the law that the UK parliament has passed. Last July, the European Court of Human Rights held that there had been a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights which relates to inhuman and degrading treatment on the basis that whole-life orders were not reducible. But the Court of Appeal disagreed by pointing to the possible exceptional release of whole-life prisoners clause. Triple killer McLoughlin, 55, was jailed for life at the Old Bailey last October for stabbing a man on his first day-release from prison after 21 years in custody. When sentencing McLoughlin, the trial judge imposed a 40-year tariff, saying he could not pass a whole-life term because of the European court ruling.
For the original version visit http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/whole-life-sentences-for-most-dangerous-criminals-1-3311376

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