• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The law on murder and proposed reform

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Suzanne Bembridge The law on murder and proposed reform The law on murder is a mess and should be reviewed for the first time in more than half a century. A major overhaul is required including a re-think of whether murder should always carry a life sentence. It could be argued that one area which might be worth looking at is the question of whether or not it's right to have the same offence to cover cases where there is an intention to kill, as well as cases where there is not an intention to kill. A solution could be to grade the different types of murder and give them different recommended sentences so that the sentence reflects the seriousness of the offence. However, there is never any neat distinction between these cases, which you would need in order to do this. Also, the Home Office have said that mandatory life sentences will not be abolished and argued that courts already have flexibility in sentencing murderers because they can impose minimum terms. ...read more.

Middle

If the defence of provocation was reformed it would acknowledge that society does not accept extreme violence as a response to actions or insults which do not include physical threats and it would eliminate the historical anomaly in the law that excuses killings based on anger. It would also alleviate the fear that the defence is being used by men to kill women and it would remove the problems associated with complicated charges to the jury. The Law Commission said the defence should apply if the accused "acted in response to gross provocation" which caused them to have a "justifiable sense of being seriously wronged", or in response to a "fear of serious violence towards the defendant or another". The experts did not recommend creating a separate partial defence to murder which would allow a defendant to claim they acted in self-defence despite using excessive force - the so-called "Tony Martin" defence after the Norfolk farmer who shot and killed 16-year-old burglar Fred Barras in August 1999. The reform of the law on murder would be the first wholesale re-examination of the subject since the Royal Commission on Capital Punishment from 1949 to 1953, which led to the Homicide Act in 1957. ...read more.

Conclusion

Amanda's uncle, Lewis Champion, told the BBC News website Ford did not deserve any credit for his plea, saying: "Nothing at all is worth taking five years off a murder sentence." Lord Woolf's Sentencing Guidelines Council (SGC) have caused controversy by suggesting a one third discount off sentences for early guilty pleas in all types of crime. As a result murderers who face a 15-year tariff could get five years knocked off if they give themselves up to the police. The SGC should reconsider its proposals to reflect Parliament's wish that murder should be treated as a separate category of offence. In the case of murder, reduction in sentence for a guilty plea should not be granted in addition to reductions for other mitigating circumstances. Although it could be argued that by making provision for murder tariffs, Parliament sent a clear signal that it expects murder to be treated differently to other offences. Some may also argue that guilty plea discounts could have potential benefits for victims and witnesses by avoiding the trauma of a trial. Reducing murder sentences due to an early plea sends out the wrong signals to violent criminals and completely undermines the government's claim to be tough on crime. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Machinery of Justice section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Machinery of Justice essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    ‘Trial by jury is outdated, expensive and ineffective in ensuring justice’ Analyse arguments for ...

    4 star(s)

    Auld also recommended that changes be made to permit a judge to provide 'ethnic representation' if a case has a racial issue. This was, of course, also recommended by Runciman in his 1993 Commission, but has again been rejected (Sanders & Young, 200:565).

  2. Explain the ranges of sentences available to the judge or magistrate.

    Firstly, it imposes limits on the states power in that excessive exemplary or incapacitative sentences become unacceptable. Second, it reduces the unjustifiable sentencing disparity, as two offenders whom commit the same crime will receive similar punishments, irrespective of race, culture or background.

  1. Notes on Sentencing in British courts

    Length of detention no longer than maximum available for adult custodial sentence to boy, 13 raped girl, 12 Detention at Her Majesty's Pleasure o 10 -17 guilty of murder ordered to be detained during her majesty's pleasure. o Thos si an intermediate sentence which allows offender to be released when suitable.

  2. Describe the different aims of sentencing.

    Rehabilitation is one of the six aims of sentencing. This means that the main aim of the sentence imposed is to reform the offender and to re-establish the person back into society. Rehabilitation is the main basis of the idea of individualised sentences.

  1. Judical Creativity in Law

    They have the flexibility to refuse to follow an earlier case "when it appears right to do so", thus extending the power of the Law Lords (at least in theory) to create law. Though it is not used often it can have a major effect throughout the legal system e.g.

  2. Principles on which sentencing decisions are based

    The policy underlying sentencing was subject to a major view in the late 1980's culminating in the government White Paper 'Crime, Justice and Protecting the Public'. The proposals in the White Paper were then turned into law by the Criminal Justice Act (CJA)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work