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Age limit for jurors would be raised to 75 in reforms

People up to and including the age of 75 will be able to sit as jurors in England and Wales under a package of reforms to the criminal justice system.

Currently, only people aged 18 to 70 are eligible to sit as jurors.

The Old Bailey in central London. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Between 2005 and 2012, an average of almost 179,000 people in England and Wales undertook jury service each year. It is estimated that this change would mean up to 6,000 jurors a year, out of the 179,000 average, would be 70 to 75-years-old.

Briton sentenced to death in eighties bids to clear name

A Briton who has been in prison in the United States since being sentenced to death in the late eighties for a double murder, will this week attempt to force the US government to hand over documents which could clear his name.

Krishna Maharaj sits for an interview in Miami Dade county jail in Miami, Florida, in 2012. Credit: Reuters

Former self-made millionaire Krishna Maharaj, 74, who was once the second biggest racehorse owner in the UK, was convicted in 1987 of the murders of two men, Derrick and Duane Moo Young, in the Dupont Plaza hotel in central Miami.

He spent 15 years on death row before his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2002.


Mental health support at police stations welcomed

The Centre for Mental Health has welcomed plans for mental health professionals to be placed in prison stations as part of a drive to reduce reoffending by mentally ill patients.

Liaison and diversion teams provide immediate advice and help to the police when they arrest someone with a mental health difficulty. They can screen for mental health problems and learning difficulties in both adults and children who come into police custody and secure the right support for those who need it.

We are pleased that the Government has given the go-ahead to further development of liaison and diversion services. This year it will be five years since the Bradley Report was published and it is vital that good quality mental health support for adults and children alike is available in every police station and court in England.

– Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sean Duggan

Mental health staff to help police 'focus' on crime

Police officers should be focused on fighting crimes and people with mental health conditions should get the care they need as early as possible.

These pilots will not only ensure that happens but in the longer term will help drive down reoffending by individuals who, with the right kind of treatment, can recover fully.

– Policing minister Damian Green

Mental health nurses to be placed in police stations

Mental health nurses are to be posted in police stations and courts in a bid to reduce reoffending by mentally ill criminals, the government has announced.

The £25 million pilot will be tested in Merseyside, London, Avon and Wiltshire, Leicester, Sussex, Dorset, Sunderland and Middlesbrough, Coventry, south Essex and Wakefield.

Mental health nurses are to be posted in police stations and courts, the government has said. Credit: Press Association

Care and support minister Norman Lamb said the scheme will mean that people with mental health problems are treated "as early as possible" to help "divert" them away from offending again.

If successful, the measure will be rolled out across the rest of the country by 2017.

It has been estimated that police officers spend 15% to 25% of their time dealing with mental health problems - the equivalent of around 26,000 officers.


  1. Chris Ship

Government happy to pick a fight with the ECHR

Since the European Court of Human Rights ruled that whole life terms were a breach of human rights, the Government has been looking at a range of options to deal with the issue.

They now think they may have come up with a way around the ruling, by allowing judges to hand out US-style long sentences, perhaps up to 100 years. They are due to present their proposals to the Court in Strasbourg later this month.

The European Court of Human Rights says that whole life terms are illegal. Credit: Rainer Jensen/DPA

The ECHR is an institution with which the Government is quite happy to pick a fight, and this would give Tory backbenchers another reason to ask David Cameron to take a stronger line against the court and perhaps even threaten to pull out of the European Convention.

Criminals serving whole life sentences

There are currently 49 criminals serving whole life terms in English prisons, and David Cameron has vowed to ensure that "life means life" for the worst offences.

Those serving full life terms include Jamie Reynolds, who pleaded guilty to the murder of Shropshire teenager Georgia Williams last year.

Jamie Reynolds pleaded guilty to the murder of Georgia Williams. Credit: West Mercia Police

Mark Bridger, who was jailed for killing five-year-old April Jones, is also serving a whole life sentence.

Mark Bridger has launched an appeal bid against his life sentence. Credit: PA Wire

Cameron vows to retain life sentences for murderers

David Cameron has promised to ensure murderers can be kept in jail for life amid suggestions that the Government could introduce 100-year-sentences.

The Prime Minister's comments follow a long-running confrontation with the European Court of Human Rights, which has declared life sentences in England illegal because they offer no "right to review".

Ministers believe they can sidestep the ruling by letting judges sentence for hundreds of years, the Telegraph has reported.

Ex-chief prosecutor Starmer in victim protection role

Rape victims and abused children could face greater protections when questioned in court under plans to be drawn up by former chief prosecutor Keir Starmer, Labour said today.

Mr Starmer, director of public prosecutions until earlier this year, will also look at making it a legal obligation for the police and prosecutors to keep crime victims informed about the progress of investigations.

New abuse guidelines aim to prevent suffering in the future Credit: PA

There have been a number of high-profile cases where vulnerable witnesses have faced the harrowing ordeal of having to relive their experiences in detail under cross-examination in court.

Today, Mr Starmer said he would advise Labour on introducing legislation, should it win power in 2015, to give greater protections to vulnerable witnesses in court.

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