Duncan Lewis

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David Oakes who has been sentenced to life, has lost his appeal on the legality of life sentences.

Date: (22 November 2012)    |    

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The legality of whole life sentences was upheld by the court of appeal which refused to reduce the prison term imposed on him who not only tortured his former partner but also shot dead their two year old daughter.
The five judges said David Oakes should serve the lifer but at the same time the court overturned similar sentences of two notorious offenders, Danilo Restivo and Michael Roberts.
The judges ruled that the whole life orders had passed human rights test just before the upper chamber of the European court of human rights is due to hear a challenge by three other convicted British murderers, to the legitimacy of life sentences.
In its judgment, the appeal court said imposing such orders was not incompatible with article 3 of the European convention on human rights, which prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment.
The whole life order, the product of primary legislation, was reserved for the few exceptionally serious offences in which, after reflecting on all the features of aggravation and mitigation, the judge was satisfied that the element of just punishment and retribution requires the imposition of a whole life order.
The Lord Judge said if that conclusion was justified only then the whole life order was appropriate. It was not mandatory, automatic or minimum sentence.
On Oakes, 51, of Steeple, Essex, the judges said the crime committed by him was not which came out due to the stresses and strains of the breakdown of his relationship. Rather, he was vengeful on Christine Chambers his former partner.
He had not just planned to kill his wife and the child but he carried out his intentions which were deliberate in inflicting the most terrifying and agonising ordeal on his former wife and child. He went mercilessly after his ex partner and enjoyed her prolonged suffering and killed his daughter in cold blood.
In other similar tariffs a whole life order on rapist Roberts was reduced to minimum of 25 years. Roberts had terrorised elderly women in the South London district and was jailed in January and after escaping from law for 15 years.
Restivo had his whole-life tariff reduced to 40 years. The Italian national was given a whole-life tariff in June last year for the murder and mutilation of a mother-of-two in Bournemouth.
The panel also upheld the 30-year minimum term imposed on Kiaran Stapleton, who was jailed for life after killing a stranger in the street.
The minimum term imposed in the case of Restivo is the equivalent of an 80-year determinate term, with the 25 years in the case of Roberts being the equivalent of 50 years.