Michael Fabricant raised the matter of the short minimum sentences set by the judge for the murderers of Michael Eccles with the Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw in the House of Commons yesterday (10th November 2009). On sentencing, the judge had set a life sentence for both but with a minimum tariff of 13 years for Carl Keatley and 11 years for Jordan Carroll.
The following is taken from Hansard:
Michael Fabricant: A few months ago Michael Eccles, a young father in my constituency, was murdered. The people who did it were found and sentenced to prison but, under the terms of their sentence, they could be released in just a few years. Can the Secretary of State understand the anger and frustration of the family and friends who feel that justice is not being served by such short sentences?
Mr. Straw: As the honourable Gentleman and all of us do, I share the grief of the family.
If the conviction was for murder, the sentence will have been for life. A minimum tariff will have been set, although I do not know what it was. Home detention curfew and early release from custody under the 18-day provision do not apply to any such serious offenders. Even once they have served their tariff-I would be very surprised if it were not in double figures-they will be released only once they have satisfied the Parole Board that it is safe. I assure the hon. Gentleman that the victim’s bereaved family will have a right to appear before the Parole Board.
Michael Fabricant now says: "I not only share the grief of the family as Jack Straw has said, but their anger and frustration too. Prison is not just to protect society from those held in prison, it is to punish the perpetrators of crime and to deter others from committing crime. Eleven and 13 years would not be a punishment to fit this particular crime. As Jack Straw has said, Michael Eccles’ family will have the opportunity to appear before the Parole Board and state their disgust, should release be considered for the murderers once the minimum sentence has been served."