A Notice of Motion was passed at tonight’s Council meeting which supports the “Face the Family” campaign.
It was also agreed that that the Council will write to the Justice Minister Alex Chalke MP setting out the terms of the Notice of Motion, reiterating the Council’s support for the campaign and urging him to bring forward legislation to facilitate this as soon as possible.
Currently offenders can choose not to appear in court for sentencing, including hearing victim impact statements. This can add to families and victims’ suffering, as they are deprived the opportunity of presenting victim impact statements with offenders present. This was highlighted recently when Thomas Cashman refused to appear in court after being found guilty of the murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel.
The Council notes that the “Face the Family” campaign, coordinated by Radio City, is calling for a change to the law to insist offenders come into court for sentencing, or face possible additional penalties.
The campaign has generated a lot of support, including local MPs and the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, calling on the government to introduce a new law to make offenders be present in court. This could be done by including it in the Victim and Witnesses Bill currently going through Parliament. This includes a current online petition.
This Council supports the call for this change in the law to make our criminal justice system more supportive of victims and pledges its support of the “Face the Family” campaign.
The Notice of Motion was proposed by Cllr Shelley Powell, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, who said “We know that offenders not being present for their sentencing has affected Olivia’s family and many other families. The approval of our Notice of Motion demonstrates our commitment and support to this important campaign.”