Convicted killers will be forced to stand in the dock and face the families of their victims in court, ministers vow
- Justice Secretary Alex Chalk was pressed by MPs to act urgently
Convicted killers will be forced to stand in the dock and face victims’ families, ministers have vowed.
Justice Secretary Alex Chalk confirmed the government is still committed to a law compelling serious offenders to attend sentencing hearings.
He was pressed by MPs to act urgently after three cases in the past year in which murderers refused to attend court to hear judges give them life sentences.
Mr Chalk told the Commons: ‘We are committed to bringing forward legislation to enable offenders to be compelled to attend their sentencing hearing.
‘Offenders who rob innocence, betray lives and shatter families should be required to face the consequences of their actions and hear society’s condemnation expressed through the sentencing remarks of the judge.’
Justice Secretary Alex Chalk confirmed the government is still committed to a law compelling serious offenders to attend sentencing hearings
Labour’s shadow justice minister Ellie Reeves told him: ‘The Government have had 13 years to compel criminals to attend courts to hear their sentences
Labour’s shadow justice minister Ellie Reeves told him: ‘The Government have had 13 years to compel criminals to attend courts to hear their sentences.
‘The Government’s failure to do that has meant that in the last year alone the killers of Olivia Pratt-Korbel, Zara Aleena and Sabina Nessa have all avoided hearing their sentences, and avoided hearing the impact that their callous crimes have had on the families left behind. Will the Government urgently make this simple change, and stop cowardly offenders from evading their sentencing hearings?’
Mr Chalk replied that he wants offenders trying to sleep in their cells hear the judge’s words of condemnation ‘ringing in their ears’.
‘There are victims who find it hard to ever recover, so why should that defendant ever be able to sleep soundly in their bed?’ he said.
Dominic Raab last night condemned the Government’s decision to abandon his long-promised shake-up of human rights law.
The former Justice Secretary said ‘all the wrong people will celebrate’ the demise of his Bill of Rights, which he said would have seen more foreign criminals deported.
He spoke out after his successor Alex Chalk confirmed to MPs that the legislation had been shelved for the third time.
Mr Raab, who was forced to quit the Government in April over a controversial bullying probe, said: ‘It is disappointing to see this major Conservative reform, which can strengthen freedom of speech and help us deport more foreign criminals, dropped from the Government’s agenda. All the wrong people will celebrate.’