MP welcomes sentence review

UPPER Bann MP David Simpson welcomed the news that teen killer Wootton’s sentence wil be reviewed at the Court of Appeal.

“This news will be welcomed by all right-thinking people. Whenever I heard the news reports of the sentences handed own in this case, I felt the same as the many people from Banbridge who have contacted me about this in the last few days.

“My immediate reaction was that while there is an enormous debt of thanks to be paid to the tenacity of the PSNI on their investigation that has led to the conviction of Wooton and McConville for this brutal murder of a gallant police officer; the sentencing certainly didn’t feel like justice to many people.

“Any sentence that is handed down must match the severity of the crime. I do not see how that could be said to be the case in this instance. That was why I wrote immediately to the Director of the Public Prosecution Service to request that he make use of his power to refer this to the Court of Appeal on the grounds of its leniency.

“I am pleased that the Director of the PPS has now done so.

“Constable Stephen Carroll’s widow Kate, who has borne this terrible grief with such grace and dignity, together with the entire family circle deserved far better than to have an insultingly lenient sentence heaped on top of their heartbreak and loss.

“We now await the decision of the Court of Appeal. But we also have to now turn our attention to a review of the entire sentencing policy for such crimes in Northern Ireland.

“I note the statement from the sentencing judge in this case, Lord Justice Girvan in which he stated his view that ‘the current guidelines and the case law based on them to require reconsideration.’ This only adds to the importance of the moves my party colleagues at the NI Assembly Stephen Moutray and Sydney Anderson have taken in recent days in supporting the tabling of a motion calling for a full review of sentencing in crimes such as this.

“I hope that this move will achieve sufficient cross party support. It is vital that society can have confidence in the criminal justice system.”