How many times have you heard the phrase "life must mean life"? A fair few, I’d bet. Whilst a life sentencemay be just that in many countries of the world, in the UK you have more chance of being hit on the back of the head by a Zeppelin than getting a real life sentence.
According to some human rights lawyers a life sentence breaches the human rights of offenders! Incredible, you might think. Not so QC Anthony Trollope (how apt that his name is the same as that which he spouts). Trollope is acting for David Beiber, the American who coolly shot dead PC Ian Broadhurst in 2004 during a routine stop check. (He also attempted to murder 2 other officers). He tol the court of appeal that a whole life sentence is a breach of Beiber’s rights saying a term of 30 years should be sufficient. The case is currently adjourned for legal argument.
Meanwhile, one of the UK’s worst serial killers, Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, is saying pretty much the same thing.
Acting on his behalf is female lawyer Saimo Chahal – oh the irony, Sutcliffe murdered 13 women in the late 70s – who claims his human rights were breached when a set tariff for his sentence was never set at his conviction in 1981.
Chahal will try to use the European Convention on Human Rights to win Sutcliffe’s release once he has served 30 years in 2011.
Sutcliffe was sentenced to 20 life sentences.
How does Chahal sleep at night? Oh yeah, because she’s a lawyer.