Harper’s law on life sentence not retrospective, says Raab
A new law that will bring in mandatory life sentences for offenders who kill emergency services workers while committing crimes will not be retrospective, Dominic Raab has said.
The justice secretary’s statement means the killers of PC Andrew Harper, who died while on duty, will not have their sentences extended.
Lissie Harper, his widow, has led a two-year campaign to change the law after he was killed while answering a late-night burglary call. The court of appeal previously rejected an attempt by the attorney general to increase the sentences handed down to the officer’s killers.
The justice secretary told BBC Breakfast: “That is one of the things that made us look very carefully and focus on changing the law, but of course it only applies to crimes and sentences going forward; I think that’s the right thing to do.”
The so-called Harper’s law is expected to make it on to the statute books through an amendment to the existing police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, meaning it is likely to get royal assent and become law early next year.
Harper, 28, died from his injuries after being dragged down a country road by car as the trio fled the scene of a theft in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, on the night of 15 August 2019.
Henry Long, 19, was sentenced to 16 years and Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, were jailed for 13 years over the manslaughter of the Thames Valley police officer. Long admitted manslaughter, while Cole and Bowers, his passengers, were convicted of manslaughter at trial.