Ex-Justice Secretary on Lucy Letby's court refusal
Killer nurse Lucy Letby, who is refusing to attend court for her sentencing tomorrow, should have the hearing beamed live into her cell, former justice secretary Robert Buckland has said.
The 33-year-old was found guilty on Friday at Manchester Crown Court of the murder of seven babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital, as well as the attempted murder of six more, following a 10-month trial.
However, Letby has indicated she will refuse to attend court when sentence is passed – prompting anger from those, including the parents of her victims, who believe she should be present.
Speaking today, Mr Buckland acknowledged the court was currently powerless to compel her to attend.
However, he said: “I mean, my suggestion would be to make sure that there was a live link beamed into the cell of the sound and/or send pictures to ensure that Letby has nowhere to hide and in fact has to listen to what the judge is saying about the case.
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“Most importantly, she needs to hear the victim’s personal statements as impact statements that will really bring home I think, to the wider world, the appalling devastating impact of the loss of these innocent children, these innocent babies, have had upon dozens of families.
“And that is why I think the government is right to act. There are a couple of options I hear indeed about proposals for the King’s speech in November.”
He told GB News: “There is a bill currently before Parliament, the victims bill that perhaps could be amended by the government as it goes through the Commons – it is still in the common stages.
“Legislation takes time, I’ve dealt with a lot of legislation myself and the body through Parliament, but it does take many months.
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“But I’m glad to see the government is taking the necessary action and trying to strike the balance between stopping the compulsion of the defendant from becoming the centrepiece of attention, but making sure that defendants are being made to face the consequences of their appalling crimes.”
Letby is not the only child killer to skip their sentencing hearing this year.
On April 23, Thomas Cashman, 34, refused to face the judge, also at Manchester Crown Court, after being convicted of the murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt Korbel.
Cashman shot Olivia dead after chasing another criminal into her home and opening fire with a revolver.
He was sentenced to 42 years in prison in his absence.
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