MP slams judges over mon­sters ‘hu­man rights’

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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

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