HL Deb 15 December 1997 vol 584 c74WA
Lord Monson

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they consider that the tariff of a minimum 20 years' detention, which qualified the sentence of life imprisonment imposed upon a man recently convicted of imprisoning, torturing, blinding and eventually murdering a 17-year old girl, adequately satisfied the requirements of retribution and deterrence.

Lord Williams of Mostyn

The Secretary of State has not yet set a tariff—the period which must be served by a mandatory life-sentence prisoner to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence—in this case. The period referred to in the question is the minimum recommendation of 20 years made by the trial judge in passing a sentence of life imprisonment. When the Secretary of State sets the tariff, he will consider carefully the trial judge's description of the circumstances of the murder, his and the Lord Chief Justice's recommendations on tariff and any representations submitted by the prisoner. The Secretary of State attaches considerable weight to the judicial recommendations on tariff in mandatory life-sentence cases but is not bound by them and may set tariffs lower or higher than those recommended.