The judges from the European Court of Human Rights ruled by 16 to 1 that the whole life sentences of murderer Jeremy Bamber and two other killers need to be reviewed but added that this could not be assumed as a sign of imminent release.
PM, on the other hand, declared he supported and preferred whole life tariffs.
After murdering five members of his family in Essex in 1985, Bamber now claims he had not committed a crime and brought the case to the court’s upper chamber. In his words his schizophrenic sister Sheila Caffell shot her family before turning the gun on herself.
The number of people in England and Wales who are serving whole life tariffs is 49. Justice secretary is the only one who has to right to release some of them on compassion grounds- in case they are terminally ill or seriously incapacitated.
The prisoners called their sentences “inhuman and degrading” and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights protected them from inhuman or degrading treatment. By the way, don`t forget to check our HR document templates.
The only way for a life sentence to remain compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights is after a review of the release possibility.
The judges said national authorities had to decide when such a review should take place.
Former Labour home secretary David Blunkett said his government changed the law “so that life really meant life when sentencing those who had committed the most heinous crimes”.
Serial killer Peter Moore and double murderer Douglas Vinter are the other two guys who appeal their sentences together with Bamber. Moore killed four gay men in north Wales in 1995 and Vinter admitted killing his wife Anne White in 2008.
Lord Chief Justice said jail without the possibility of release should be “reserved for the few exceptionally serious offences”.