Judge calls for sentencing guideline review after PSNI officer murder case

Judge calls for sentencing guideline review after PSNI officer murder case

A judge in the North has said he would back a review of sentencing guidelines after his decision to jail a policeman's killer for 14 years was criticised by the officer's widow.

Kate Carroll hit out at the sentence handed to a member of a dissident republican gang that murdered Constable Stephen Carroll in Craigavon, Co Armagh, in March 2009.

John Paul Wootton (aged 21) drove the getaway car and was sentenced to a minimum of 14 years by Lord Justice Paul Girvan, on the basis of factors including that Wootton was under 18 at the time.

The jail term was nine years less than that handed to Brendan McConville, whose coat may have been wrapped around the murder weapon.

The judge has detailed how the sentence he handed down was dictated by guidelines.

He said: "Insofar as it is open to a trial judge to express a view questioning the continued validity of the existing guidelines, as the trial judge in this case I feel bound to express the view that the current guidelines and the case law based on them do require reconsideration, to take account of modern conditions and to properly take into account the argument that there is a heightened need for deterrence and retribution in the fixing of tariffs, at least in relation to certain categories of murder including, in particular, the terrorist murder of a police officer as occurred in the present case."


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