The compatibility of whole life orders with Article 3 of European Convention on Human Rights ?

24.01.14 | |

The appeal against sentence in R v Lee Newell and Mathew Thomas by Joe Stone QC is as one legal / media commentator describes “one of the most important sentencing hearings in many years to come before the court of appeal”. 


The issue at the centre here is whether whole life order (WLO) is compatible with Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In July last year, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) held that it was a breach of human rights in the cases of convicted murderers, Jeremy Bamber, Douglas Vinter and Peter Moore, amounting to “inhuman and degrading treatement” and that there had to be the possibility of release and a possibility of review.


On behalf of Newell now 45, Joe Stone QC, in seeking permission to appeal against sentence, said that a whole-life term was "manifestly excessive". If he was given a 40-year minimum it would give him hope and the "flickering possibility that one day when he is 85 he will be released from prison".


The appeal judges Lord Thomas, sitting with Sir Brian Leveson, Lady Justice Hallett, Lord Justice Treacy and Mr Justice Burnett have reserved their decision.


Read more here and here.

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