Wednesday February 26, 2014.
Sentencing was delayed by Mr Justice Sweeney to allow time for a specially-constituted court to decide if “whole-life” tariffs can still be handed to criminals who have committed the very worst of crimes. Mr Justice Sweeney’s move was a clear signal that a whole-life order – that is, sentenced to life in prison with no minimum term or chance for a Parole Board review – was firmly on the table for at least one of the defendants.
It is still down to Mr Justice Sweeney to decide if a whole-life term is appropriate. Last week, a panel of five judges, including the most senior judge in England and Wales,
Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, declared that sentencing judges can continue to impose whole-life tariffs. The guidance comes in the wake of a decision by the European Court of Human Rights last year in an appeal by three murderers.