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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Charlotte McLaughlin

Rob Rinder calls for law change after Lucy Letby’s refusal to attend sentencing

PA Wire

Judge Rinder has called for a law change following the refusal of Lucy Letby to attend her sentencing hearing and listen to the “unbearable pain of her victims”.

Letby did not leave her cell on Monday as she was given a whole-life sentence in prison for the murder of seven babies and the attempted murders of six more.

Former barrister Robert Rinder, 45, who had a hit TV show from 2014 to 2020 during which he passed judgement on small claims court cases, tweeted: “Families of children murdered by Lucy Letby gave impact statements today.

“They could not direct them at the nurse who killed their babies b/c Letby was allowed to stay away & not hear the unbearable pain of her victims. Her absence was lawful. It’s time to change that law. Now.”

Lucy Letby was given a whole-life sentence for the murder of seven babies and attempted murder of six others
— (PA Media)

He added: “There were no practical impediments whatsoever to Letby being in court or appearing by video link (if practically necessary) to hear the voices of the families.

“I get the problem(s) of bringing an unwilling person to court. But the absence of a law compelling them is deeply unhelpful. Most clients listen to counsel.

“Few would refuse once told they were legally required to attend unless correctly advised that it is lawful not to.”

Newspapers have made similar calls for a law change and ministers have vowed to change the law to ensure serious offenders can be forced to attend court.

Writing in the Daily Express, former justice secretary Sir Robert Buckland said Letby’s “cynical refusal” to come into the dock added to “already heinous injury”.

He suggested the option of a live TV link to the prisoner’s cell and increasing sentences for those who refused to attend.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions, accused the Government of “dragging its heels” over making the change.

The killers of Olivia Pratt-Korbel, Zara Aleena and Sabina Nessa have also not attended sentencing hearings.

Earlier this year, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk said the Government is “committed” to changing the law so criminals are compelled to attend.

However, the anonymous lawyer and author known as The Secret Barrister wrote in a tweet that “achieving this is nowhere near as simple as politicians are pretending”.

He suggested that for Letby an increased sentence would not force her to attend as she was given a whole-life order.

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