In the Media

Automatic life terms 'outdated'

PUBLISHED May 17, 2004

Murderers should not necessarily receive an automatic life sentence, according to a senior high court judge.

Sir Roger Toulson, chairman of the Law Commission in England and Wales, called the law on killings outdated and said it should be overhauled to take into account different categories of murder. He said defendants increasingly tried to find defences which led to charges being reduced to manslaughter. "Because of the mandatory life sentence, which is not fitting for every case, defendants seek to find escape routes through various defences," he said.
"As a result the law is under considerable pressure - it is having to bear too big a load.