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In Mc Loughlin's case, Judge Mr Justice Sweeney said he was unable to sentence the triple killer to life behind bars.In order to clarify the law, and challenge Strasbourg, the UK Government referred the Mc Loughlin case to a special five-man panel convened by the Appeal Court and headed by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas.
Last year then Lord Chief Justice, Igor Judge, said Parliament 'is a court which can't be overruled by anybody,' adding: 'I genuinely don't think that a body of judges – however distinguished – should have that power.'Chris Grayling further ratcheted up tensions by saying European human rights judges were persistently ‘overstepping the mark’ and accused these men of women of prying ‘more and more’ into areas that should be decided in domestic courts or by MPs in Parliament.
Reacting to the news, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: ‘This is a timely and welcome decision.
When making submissions on whole-life tariffs, James Eadie QC, representing Attorney General Dominic Grieve, told the judges that if a sentencing court 'is of the opinion that, because of the seriousness of the offending, a minimum term should not be fixed, the court must impose a whole-life order'.
Last week, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, the president of the Supreme Court, said that while other European countries may be used to judges overruling legislation enacted by parliaments ‘the UK was not’.
He can point to the fact it is not only Lord Neuberger who has voiced concerns about the European court.
But, as a result of Strasbourg’s interference it now extends, ‘to cover the legal status of illegitimate children, immigration and deportation, extradition, aspects of criminal sentencing, abortion, homosexuality, assisted suicide, child abduction, the law of landlord and tenant, and a great deal else besides’.Instead, to the fury of some MPs, Mc Loughlin was handed 40 years.Deciding that he did not want to be represented or make any submissions to the court, Mc Loughlin wrote in a letter: ‘It is just that I believe I deserve the whole-life tariff which the AG is seeking and that the family of Graham Buck deserves to know officially that I will never be released.’ Mc Loughlin killed Mr Buck, 66, on his first day of unsupervised release from jail last year for another killing.Our courts should be able to send the most brutal murderers to jail for the rest of their lives.I think people in Britain will be glad that our courts have disagreed with the European Court of Human Rights, and upheld the law that the UK Parliament has passed.’Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who referred the Mc Loughlin sentence to the court for review, said: 'I am pleased that the Court of Appeal has today confirmed that those who commit the most heinous crimes can be sent to prison for the rest of their lives.'I asked the Court of Appeal to look again at Mc Loughlin's original sentence because I did not think that the European Court of Human Rights had said anything which prevented our courts from handing down whole life terms in the most serious cases.Criminals can launch an appeal to the High Court if they believe their sentence is too severe.