21.08.2020

PC Andrew Harper: Killers’ sentences to be reviewed

The Attorney General, Suella Braverman, has applied for leave to refer the sentences imposed on the teenagers convicted of the manslaughter of PC Andrew Harper, under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

Ms Braverman has stated that PC Harper’s killing was a “horrific crime which resulted in the death of a much-respected police officer while he was on-duty, protecting his community”. She said she had referred the sentences after “having personally considered the details of this shocking case”.

[Full news story here]

20.08.2020

R. v Ashem Abedi

Jeremy Baker J, Central Criminal Court

On the evening of Monday 22 May 2017 over 14,000 people, many of whom were either children or teenagers, attended Ariana Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena. At about 10.30pm, as the performance came to an end and the audience started to leave through the City Room in order to meet their families and friends who were waiting to collect them, the defendant’s brother, Salman Abedi, detonated an improvised explosive device which caused both himself and 22 fellow human beings to be killed whilst many others were very seriously injured. [1]

Although Salman Abedi was directly responsible for detonating the explosive device that evening, it is clear that the defendant had taken an integral part not only in the planning of such an event but in participating in its preparation. [2]

Bearing all these matters in mind and standing back from the statutory scheme so as to ensure that the overall sentence is proportionate to the criminality involved in these offences, both in terms of culpability and harm, I consider that the appropriate minimum term for the sentences of life imprisonment on each of the counts of murder is one of 55 years. [35]

The defendant should clearly understand that the minimum term which he will serve in relation to the offences of murder is 55 years in custody. He may never be released, as that will only occur if and when the Parole Board is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that he should be confined. Even if he is released, he will remain on licence and subject to recall for the remainder of his life. [40]

[Full sentencing remarks here]

05.08.2020

Widow of PC Andrew Harper launches campaign for full life jail terms for killers of emergency workers

Lissie Harper, the widow of PC Andrew Harper, is calling for “Andrew’s Law” in memory of her husband that would see harsher punishments for anyone who kills a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor or paramedic. It comes after Mrs Harper said she was “immensely disappointed” that the three teenagers who killed her husband were cleared of murder and instead convicted of manslaughter.

Mrs Harper, who is working in conjunction with the Police Federation of England and Wales on the campaign, intends to push for a change in the law in high-profile meetings with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel in the coming weeks.

[Full news story here]