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Justice Secretary defends whole-life sentence given to the murderer of 4 gay men

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  1. The ECHR has not ruled that these people cannot spend their lives in prison. Merely that there must be checks and balances in place so that if these people do, at some point, not constitute a threat to society, they are released.

    We can still expect all 49 of them to die in prison – We just won’t have undermined our shared and inalienable rights in the process.

    Once we start carving exceptions out of who gets which rights then they we never really had them to begin with. A few extra parole hearings is a small price to pay for keeping all of our rights intact.

    1. Jock S. Trap 10 Jul 2013, 1:31pm

      In these cases it’s not so much about being a threat to society but more about punishment and serving a sentence because of the people they have denied a right to life.

      If you deny a right to life why should that mean Any right to freedom?

      Fact is it shouldn’t. Those people chose to murder but those killed had No choice whatsoever!

      1. GulliverUK 10 Jul 2013, 1:40pm

        So have people who cause road accidents and resulting deaths, and they get let off, or short sentences. They have “denied a right to life” also.

        Manslaughter is different than murder, but the result to the victim is the same. What we’re talking about is intent at that point in time. Slavery was once accepted but people changed. Society has changed its attitude towards us. Who are we to say we know a person cannot change, and thus, as someone who tried to look for the good in everyone, I hope that at least some people will reform themselves over time. Therefore I don’t believe in life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Even if it never happens, because the person has not changed sufficiently, it should be there, as a safeguard against extreme punishment.

        This is very much a philosophical debate, where comparisons and pure logic, without responding to gut responses and a desire to lash out and have revenge, are required. Difficult I know, but required, yes.

      2. However in the case of Jeremy Bamber, he is only serving full term life because he has maintained his innocence through various appeals, and one of those appeal judges upped his sentence to full term.

        As the years go on though more and more evidence is mounting to show that the conviction was unsafe. The evidence tampering that has been unearthed, and the new evidence that has come to light would under any normal circumstance make the conviction unsound. Even at the time of the trial is was a hung jury with the prosecution evidence entirely circumstantial – he was convicted because it was unlikely (on the evidence presented) to be anyone else.

        Full term life sentences based on convictions like this damage the credibility of sentences against others like Peter Moore, because clearly the appropriate checks and measures whilst there, are not activated

  2. ChrisMorley 10 Jul 2013, 1:23pm

    The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, falsely claims “I don’t believe that the people who wrote that convention ever imagined that it would stop a judge saying to a really evil offender – ‘you’ll spend the rest of your life behind bars’.”

    The European Court has NOT banned sentencing people to spend the rest of their life behind bars.

    The judges only told the UK that we need to go back to the system we had until recently, which David Blunkett abolished when he was Home Secretary: every prisoner has a human right to ask for his lifelong sentence to be reviewed.
    The European judges did not say the UK has to then release the prisoner. Most will never be freed.

    1. You can shout this from the rooftops, it doesn’t matter. The government and the rightwing press are going to twist it and twist it, because both want the UK to have zero involvement with the ECHR.

      It’s also convenient for them to leave people wallowing in their ignorance about the difference between the EU and the ECHR because they want out of that too.

    2. Also, if the authors of the Convention had not intended for the Court to rule on matters like this, they probably wouldn’t have included such broad language requiring fair trials and banning inhuman or degrading punishment.

  3. Jock S. Trap 10 Jul 2013, 1:28pm

    The European Court in this case is Very wrong. It goes against those that were murdered and these people have been given Whole life sentences for a reason…

    A reason the European Court should stay out of!

    1. Mihangel apYrs 10 Jul 2013, 2:56pm

      if the sentence was the same for all murders there could be a point, but different murders have different tarifs, usually decided in the face of media emotion.

      A dead person has no rights, so they coannot be violated, it comes down to their relatives and how loudly they complain to the media circus

  4. GulliverUK 10 Jul 2013, 1:47pm

    I don’t like Chris Grayling – there, I’ve said it. He supports equal marriage, but I think that’s just expedient to his political ambitions. Let’s not forget this is the guy who was recorded before the last election telling people B&Bs should be able to refuse gay people a room. He is the re-incarnation of Hitler in my view, I loath him. I think he’s wrong on almost every single action he takes. And he’s very wrong on this too. The decisions taken by the ECHR are usually very robustly argued by the best lawyers, and decided upon by some of the best judges available, and no only that, to me, their rulings have an defining quality of logic to them, which I admire.

    As for “Evil”;

    “Evil can’t be scientifically defined. It’s an illusory moral concept that doesn’t exist in nature. It’s origins and connotations have been inextricably linked to religion and mythology.”
    — Spencer Reid, Criminal Minds, 2010

    1. I was with you right up until, “He is the re-incarnation of Hitler in my view”…

      1. Midnighter 12 Jul 2013, 3:40pm

        Godwin’s law strikes yet another PN thread :P

  5. Not that I’m superstitious or anything , but this man was born on the 1st. of April, maybe we should treat his pronouncements with a bit of scepticism and caution.
    I certainly would not trust HIM with my human rights and freedoms, given his past religious based prejudices and influences on his judgement.

  6. I hope these people are never released because Grayling’s privitisation of the very service designed to monitor these people, will not be adequate.

  7. Adam Stewart 10 Jul 2013, 6:13pm

    Perhaps the European Court can give hope to the families who lost their loved ones and let them have a reprieve. Such sum should stay in prison for life.

  8. Christopher Hobe Morrison 10 Jul 2013, 6:54pm

    This is what the Tories are good for as the party of morality: find some group which is unpopular with large numbers of people and make demagogic rabble-rousing appeals to these people to form lynch mobs. The people can be eith convicts or illegal aliens or dark-skinned people or LGBT people. It doesn’t matter because if they don’t do it UKIP will. But I can still remember Jack Straw turning his son over to the police for cannabis so the Labour Party could raise its stand on law and order issues, and there was the man who punched out a man who hit him with an egg. But these were surprises, and one is never shocked by the statements of the Tories or DUP or UKIP. Well, rather one is shocked but never surprised.

    1. Christopher Hobe Morrison 10 Jul 2013, 7:04pm

      I forgot to mention the EU connection. For the Tories/DUP/UKIP anything that originates with these cheese-eating frogs/furrners has to be evil. This goes back to the days of the directive on straight bananas (how can you use a curved banana?). For the Euroskeptics this was a major point. Maybe some of you are old enough to remember this grave Euroscandal.

  9. Midnighter 12 Jul 2013, 4:26pm

    We are told the issue is over releasing prisoners unjustly early. The parole process is what precipitates that decision. The suggestion is that the only option we have is thus to deny the parole process to these individuals. Clearly this is not true; the other option is to improve the parole process so it works properly.

    This does seem to be being presented by some media as a false dilemma in the hopes that we’ll all get angry over the EU, rather than working to fix the problem.

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