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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
David Humphreys

Liverpool Council to back calls to change laws to make cowardly killers face justice

Liverpool Council is expected to back calls for legislation to be made to ensure cowardly killers face justice.

After being found guilty for the murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel at her home in Dovecot, Thomas Cashman chose to hide away in his cell, rather than facing up to the pain he had inflicted on Olivia’s mum Cheryl and her family. In his absence, the coward killer was sentenced to at least 42 years in prison.

Since then, politicians and campaigners alike have called for tighter measures to guarantee those found guilty of an offence cannot dodge justice.

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A motion has been put before Liverpool Council ahead of its full meeting next week calling on the cabinet to write to the UK Government urging ministers to bring forward new laws as soon as possible. The terms, submitted by Labour councillors, called on the council to note how offenders can choose not to appear in court for sentencing.

It said: “This can add to families and victims’ suffering, as they are deprived the opportunity of presenting victim impact statements with offenders present. This was highlighted recently when Thomas Cashman refused to appear in court after being found guilty of the murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel.”

Cashman appealed to have his sentence reduced but his bid was rejected by the Court of Appeal. His legal team had not sought to appeal the conviction.

The motion calls on all members to acknowledge the work done by campaigners to change the law to insist offenders come into court for sentencing, or face possible additional penalty. It added: “Local MPs, our PCC, and others are asking for the government to introduce a new law to make offenders be present in court.

“This could be done by including it in the Victim and Witnesses Bill currently going through Parliament. This includes a current online petition.”

Should members back the proposals, they will agree to instruct council leader Liam Robinson and chief executive Andrew Lewis to write to the Justice Minister Alex Chalk MP setting out the terms of the motion, “stating our support for the campaign and urge him to bring forward legislation as soon as possible.” Last month, in response to a question in Parliament from West Derby MP Ian Byrne, Mr Chalk said: “We are committed to bringing forward legislation to enable offenders to be compelled to attend their sentencing hearings.

“Offenders who rob innocence, betray lives and shatter families should be required to face the consequences of their actions and hear society’s condemnation through the sentencing remarks of the judge.”

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