MINISTERS have been accused of dragging their feet over laws forcing criminals such as Lucy Letby to attend court to hear their punishment.
Lucy Letby has threatened not to return to the dock and attend her sentencing hearing tomorrow[/caption]
Thomas Cashman, who killed Olivia Pratt-Korbel, nine, at her Liverpool home last August refused to be in court to hear his sentence[/caption]
Offenders will be required to attend court under laws to be proposed in the King’s Speech in November.
Shadow Justice Secretary Steve Reed last night said it was “grossly offensive” for murderers to refuse to acknowledge the consequences of their crimes.
He said: “If the defendant doesn’t come and face justice it’s beyond cowardly and will have a devastating impact on the families.
“This is a vital part of seeing justice done.
“We called for new laws in April last year but the Conservatives have dragged their feet.”
Trial judge Mr Justice Goss said the court had no power to force the defendant to attend.
Other high-profile offenders who refused to be in court for sentencing include Thomas Cashman, 34, who killed Olivia Pratt-Korbel, nine, at her Liverpool home last August.
Mum Cheryl Korbel, 46, said it was “like a kick in the teeth”.
A Ministry of Justice source said: “We’re committed to changing the law as soon as we can.”
Inquiry 'is too weak'
LAWYERS for victims’ families last night called for the government’s Letby inquiry to be beefed up.
They described the investigation, which will not have the same authority as one led by a judge, as “inadequate”.
Richard Scorer and Yvonne Agnew, of Slater and Gordon, added: “It does not have the power to compel witnesses to provide evidence or production of documents.
“And it must rely on the goodwill of those involved to share their testimony. This is not good enough.”