Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s killer should not be allowed to “hide” away from justice by refusing to come to court to be sentenced, according to sources close to Dominic Raab.
The Deputy Prime Minister – who is also Justice Secretary – previously vowed to consider changing the law to force criminals to attend court or pay the price for their actions if they do not.
Last week, a jury found Thomas Cashman guilty of murdering nine-year-old Olivia in her Liverpool home in August last year.
On Monday, he failed to appear in the dock for his sentencing, which saw him handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 42 years.
“This is exactly why the Deputy Prime Minister is committed to changing the law so that offenders are forced to face the consequences of their actions.”
By law, defendants are allowed to choose not to attend their sentencing hearing – prompting recent outrage from campaigners, who say this denies victims and their families the chance to see justice being served.
Earlier this year, Farah Naz, the aunt of murdered Zara Aleena, said the family wanted her killer to hear how he had “completely destroyed” them but he refused to face his sentencing.
Jordan McSweeney, 29, was handed a life sentence in his absence and jailed for at least 38 years after admitting sexually assaulting and murdering 35-year-old law graduate Ms Aleena in Ilford, east London, in June last year.
After meeting with her family, Mr Raab said he was looking into whether the law could be changed to compel offenders to attend their sentencing and grant judges powers to impose longer prison sentences on those who opt to skip court.
Labour’s shadow justice secretary Steve Reed said: “It’s an absolute scandal that the Tory government has stood by while killers, rapists and terrorists pick and choose whether they turn up to face justice.
“It is disrespectful and grossly offensive to victims that criminals can refuse to face the consequences of their crimes in court. For victims and their families, this can be a vital part of seeing justice done.
“Labour called for new laws on this back in April last year – but the Conservatives have dragged their feet and failed to act.
“Labour will always put victims of crime first and give judges the power to force offenders to face the consequences of their actions in court. Victims deserve nothing less.”