Guernsey's Home Department seeks minimum life sentences

Guernsey's Royal Court could be given the power to impose minimum mandatory terms for life sentences in future.

The island's Home Department is to seek the States' permission to create a new law enabling the minimum sentence to be determined by a Guernsey judge.

Presently, any mandatory life term is set by an English judge after the transfer of a prisoner to a UK jail.

Home Minister Geoff Mahy said: "The judicial autonomy of the Bailiwick would be enhanced."

The setting of a minimum term would only occur in respect of those found guilty of murder.

The department has proposed a statutory term of 15 years, rising to 25 years for "sufficiently serious" cases and 30 years for those that are "particularly serious".

There would also be a category for "exceptionally serious" cases, where a "whole life order" could be imposed, meaning the offender would never be eligible for release.

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