MP slams judges over monsters ‘human rights’
EUROPEAN judges have ruled that life can never mean life, as removing the chance of release for even the most dangerous offenders is a breach of human rights.
Murderers Jeremy Bamber, Douglas Vinter and Peter Moore have been told by the European Court of Human Rights their whole life sentences amount to “inhuman and degrading treatment”.
Whole-lifers should be entitled to a review of their sentence 25 years into their term at the very latest, the Grand Chamber of the Strasbourg-based court said.
The ruling by 17 judges from across Europe sparked further outrage among critics of the court – despite reassurances that the decision did not amount to grounds for imminent release.
Tory MP Douglas Carswell, who wants Britain to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, said: “A case like this illustrates that there is some- thing profoundly rotten about the way this country is run and we can only make it right by taking power away from these so-called judges.”
He went on: “I’m strongly against capital punishment. The quid pro quo is if bleeding heart liberals like me are to have our way and outlaw capital punishment, the court must have the power to tell a person they will spend the rest of their natural lives in custody.
“For judges to strike that down, it’s not just deeply antidemocratic, it raises profound questions about the respect people can have for the criminal justice system.”
The European court found that for a life sentence to remain compatible with Rights law there had to be a possibility of release and of review.
The appeal was brought by Vinter, who stabbed his wife in February 2008, and means the cases of Bamber, who killed his parents, sister and her two young children in August 1985, and Peter Moore, who killed four gay men for his sexual gratification in 1995, will also be considered.
Under current UK law, whole-life prisoners will almost certainly never be released from prison as their offences are deemed to be so serious.
They can be freed only by the Justice Secretary, currently Chris Grayling, who can give discretion on compassionate grounds when the prisoner is terminally ill.
Mr Grayling said: “The British people will find this ruling intensely frustrating and hard to understand. What the Court is saying is that a judge can no longer tell the most appalling criminals that they will never be released.
“I think the people who wrote the original Human Rights Convention would be turning in their graves at this ruling. I profoundly disagree with the Court and this reinforces my determination to curtail the role of the Court of Human Rights in the UK.”
The European judges added whether Bamber, 51, Vinter, 43, and Moore, 73, should be released would depend on whether there were still grounds for their continued detention and whether they should continue to be detained on grounds of dangerousness.
Bamber’s lawyer Simon McKay said it was a “a progressive and humane development.”
Downing Street said that David Cameron was “very, very disappointed’’ at the ruling.
A spokesman said: “He profoundly disagrees with the court’s ruling. He is a strong supporter of whole life tariffs.”
WHOLE-LIFERS: Killers Jeremy Bamber, Douglas Vinter and Peter Moore