- The Conservative Party is being asked about its push to toughen up sentencing in light of the London Bridge terror attack after the father of one victims said his death should not be used to justify “draconian sentences.”
- The attacker, who killed two people on Friday, was released from a terror sentence early, prompting Prime Minister Boris Johnson to order an urgent review into terrorists released from prison.
- But David Merritt, the father of killed 25-year-old Jack Merritt, tweeted that “My son, Jack, who was killed in this attack, would not wish his death to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences or for detaining people unnecessarily.”
- Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was asked about Merritt’s tweet, and he said that “nobody wants to see the politicization of this” but that “we also think that terrorist offenders should serve their full sentence.”
- Jack worked in criminal justice reform, and while Merritt deleted that first tweet he also said in later tweets said that “the problem is with the lack of supervision and rehabilitation post-release, not too-short sentences.”
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The Conservative Party is being asked about its calls for tougher sentencing laws after the father of one of the victims killed in Friday’s London Bridge terror attack said that his death should not be used to justify “draconian sentences.”
David Merritt, the father of 25-year-old Jack Merritt, wrote on Twitter that “My son, Jack, who was killed in this attack, would not wish his death to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences or for detaining people unnecessarily.”
In the now-deleted tweet, Merritt did not explicitly mention the Conservative Party, which has pushed for tougher sentencing laws after the news that the attacker, who killed two people, was a convicted terrorist who was released half-way through a 16-year prison sentence.
He said that Jack, who had studied criminology and was passionate about rehabilitation, “held me to a high standard; he would have expected me to say this, and would have pulled me up had I not!”
“He was an exceptional young man, and I’m only finding out the half of it now he’s gone.”
Speaking about people convicted for terror offences, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sky News on Sunday: “We don’t think that it is the case that they should all necessarily be released, we think for some offences they should be imprisoned for life, and we also think that terrorist offenders should serve their full sentence.”
Sky News’ Sophy Ridge then asked him about Merritt’s comments.
He said that Merritt should be listened to, saying “nobody wants to see the politicisation of this”.
But he said: “The question is, who is going to make sure that the overriding priority is avoiding any unnecessary risk to the public?”
“I think if you look at what we’re saying on sentencing… it is the Conservatives who are saying we will stop at nothing to keep people safe.”
Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson, who has ordered an urgent review into dozens of terrorists released from prison, said later on the BBC on Sunday that “I absolutely deplore that fact that this man was out on the streets… and we are going to take action against it.”
But he was challenged by interviewer Andrew Marr about what changes the Conservatives have made to the justice system while in government for the past 10 years.
Merritt deleted his tweet about sentencing laws, but clarified his position as he replied to other tweets: ” I obviously don’t have full facts about the process that led to the attacker being released, but what I can say with certainty is that no one at the event had the slightest inkling that he could or would do something like this.”
“We don’t need knee-jerk reactions.”
In another, he wrote that “the problem is with the lack of supervision and rehabilitation post-release, not too-short sentences. Services have been cut to the bone and we are all less safe as a result.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, in contrast, said that those convicted of terror offences shouldn’t “necessarily” serve their full sentences.
“I think it depends on the circumstances, it depends on the sentence but crucially depends on what they have done in prison,” he said.
“I think there has to be an examination of how our prison services work and crucially what happens to them on release from prison,” he said.
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