Domestic Abuse: Homicide

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 17th November 2020.

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Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Shadow Secretary of State for Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to paragraph 3.18 of the A Smarter Approach to Sentencing White Paper published in September 2020, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of excluding domestic violence related murder in the home from the Minimum term starting points of 25 years for adult mandatory life sentences for offenders who took a knife or weapon to the scene.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The law requires a mandatory life sentence to be imposed on anyone convicted of murder. The time an offender will spend in prison before being eligible to be considered for release on licence is set by the judge at sentencing. Schedule 21 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 sets out a range of starting points and aggravating factors for the judge to consider when deciding this minimum tariff. This Schedule does not set out all possible scenarios, but rather provides a framework and affords the judge the ability to make decisions on the specific facts of the case. Aggravating factors which will be considered, regardless of where the murder took place, will include the level of premeditation, the level of suffering inflicted on the victim, and the vulnerability of the victim.

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