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article imageOp-Ed: The Jeremy Bamber circus continues

By Alexander Baron     Jul 9, 2013 in Crime
Jeremy Bamber murdered his family in August 1985. Today, the European Court ruled that he and two other whole life tariff prisoners had their human rights breached.
The press release concerning this case — for what it is worth — can be found on the website of this august organisation. Not. The reader may have some difficulty downloading it if using Google Chrome. The full judgment has also been published on this far from user-friendly site, but said release is detailed enough for most non-lawyers.
These were not appeals against conviction, all three have had due process, Bamber has had due process and then some.
According to the BBC this morning there are 49 people in England and Wales who are serving whole life tariffs. The only woman on this list appears to be Rosemary West. Like her, the others are the worst of the worst, and in truth they don't come any worse than Jeremy Bamber. You can read a bit about him here, and if you want more, follow the link to the exhaustive judgment of his failed second appeal. You will also find a fair amount of footage about his case on YouTube.
As well as Bamber, the court ruled on the cases of Peter Moore and Douglas Vinter. Moore murdered four men in 1995, apparently for no reason. Vinter is the least notorious of the trio having murdered his wife while on life licence for another murder.
The argument advanced by Bamber and his cohorts is not a new one, life without the possibility of parole is a cruel and unusual punishment, blah, blah, blah.
It is difficult to disagree with that, anyone who has served even a short gaol sentence will agree there are better places to be, although many keep going back. The bottom line though is that some crimes are so beyond the pale that there are really only two alternatives: incarceration for life and execution. The latter is not an alternative in the UK, of course, so the former is a no-brainer.
Rich posh boy and convicted mass killer Jeremy Bamber.
Rich posh boy and convicted mass killer Jeremy Bamber.
Creative Commons
Bamber should be grateful that capital punishment is not an option, because few are more deserving of it than he. Ironically, this ruling comes on the seventeenth anniversary of the Chillenden Murders which saw the most ludicrous conviction ever in an English courtroom. So what does the European Court actually say? Broadly, that whole life tariffs should include "the possibility of review" but that this should not be understood as giving the prospect of imminent release.
In addition to that, it is for the national authorities to decide when such a review of sentence should take place, but that it should be no later than 25 years after sentence.
Bamber may take encouragement from this judgment but he will surely die behind bars. In the United States, even the most notorious of convicted murderers are entitled to not simply reviews but parole hearings. Charles Manson had his latest such hearing last year, but no one thinks he will ever be released. These are all part and parcel of the checks and balances of the system. The net result of this latest futile exercise is to pad the wallets of the lawyers who represented these dregs of humanity.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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