§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
The period for retribution and deterrence in this case was originally set in 1988. At that time, the trial judge recommended 10 years. The Lord Chief Justice of the day recommended a minimum period of 16 years. The Minister then set a period of 20 years. In doing so he would have had regard to the statement by Sir Leon Brittan, as Home Secretary in 1983, that terrorists and certain other specified categories of murderer could normally expect to serve at least 20 years.
Following the Doody judgement of June 1993, the above details were disclosed to Mr. Riaz. He subsequently made representations and his case was considered afresh in December 1993. My right hon. and learned Friend concluded that there were no grounds to justify disapplying the policy set out in the Britian statement. He therefore confirmed the existing period of 20 years.