Minimum sentence law did not apply here

Stephen Carroll.
Stephen Carroll.

An appeal against the ‘unduly lenient’ sentencing of one of the men who murdered Banbridge police officer Stephen Carroll failed because the law governing minimum sentences for the murder of police officers was not extended to this part of the UK.

The revelation came as the outgoing Director of Public Prosecutions, Barry McGrory, spoke to the Belfast Newsletter about the mounting controversy over bail policy in Northern Ireland for terror offences.

He was also asked about the light sentences that have been granted to dissident republicans convicted of serious offences that would have attracted much longer prison terms during the Troubles?

“I have brought a number of ongoing terrorist related sentences to the Court of Appeal through the unduly lenient process,” Mr McGrory said, “The McConville-Wooton case was one of them,” - referring to the dissidents who murdered Constable Stephen Carroll. “In that case I argued that the tariffs in that case were inappropriately low.

“In the case of [Brendan] McConville unsuccessfully, because in Northern Ireland the law which says a minimum sentence for murders of police officers and so forth was not extended to this part of the UK, and in relation to [John Paul] Wooton that sentence was increased.”

Mr McGrory said he had also brought sentences in other cases to the Court of Appeal.