Victory for relatives of knife crime victims?

Ben Kinsella's killers were given life sentences in June 2009. Each of the three killers were told they must serve a minimum of 19 years in prison before being considered for parole.

As Ben’s father said at the time on the steps outside the Old Bailey "How many families will have to stand on the street outside the Old Bailey to get justice?"  Not only did the case further highlight the concerns about young peoples' willingness to carry and use knives but it also triggered a new debate about the adequacy of the tariff system in mandatory life cases. 

Many people do not understand why the starting point for killers using guns is 30 years, whereas the minimum number of years in the case of anyone using a knife to kill, is only 15.

Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, has made the announcement this week that the minimum prison sentence for persons found guilty of knife crime is to increase to 25 years.  This will bring it more in line with the 30-year "starting point" for those convicted of gun murders.

Many will see this as a victory for common sense at a time when there is still concern over crimes of violence and especially ones where knives are used. 

Jack Straw told the House of Commons shortly after the trial of Ben Kinsella's killers that minimum sentences for knife murders were to be reviewed.


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