I wish to present a petition collected by Mr. and Mrs. Martin, my constituents, and signed by 11,093 people, mainly in my constituency but representing the views of the vast majority of the people of Britain. They think that the House and the courts should get tough on crime and should stiffen sentences, particularly in circumstances such as the following case.
A man was threatening people with a knife, brandishing it at men and women. He then used that same knife to ruthlessly kill a youth. The terms of the petition are:
To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, The humble petition of the residents of Canvey Island and the surrounding area, sheweth:
That we, the undersigned, are deeply concerned that the sentence given to Andrew Osborne for the killing of Tony Martin was unduly lenient, and vigorously protest that the sentence should be increased. The jury at Chelmsford Crown Court found 31-year-old Andrew Osborne of Hertfordshire guilty of the manslaughter of Tony Martin during a fight on Canvey Island. Judge Peter Green was reported to tell Osborne that he opened that knife and plunged it into a 17-year-old boy's body. The judge is also reported to state that the sentence which he gave, of six years imprisonment, was the minimum he could pass. There is a great sense of outrage in the community at the apparent lenient sentence, and that the sentence does not provide an adequate deterrent against the carrying of knives and the use of knives, and that this lack of deterrent puts the community at an unacceptable risk.
Wherefore your petitioners pray that your honourable House do urge the right hon. Sir Nicholas Lyell QC MP, Attorney-General, to use his powers to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal on the basis that it was too lenient.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, etc.To lie upon the Table.