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Regional daily forces review of manslaughter sentence

The Attorney General has agreed to look again at the sentence of a teenager convicted of manslaughter following a direct appeal by the Liverpool Echo.

Sam Harrison, 19, was ordered to serve 10 years in a young offenders institution after admitting the killing of a Sri Lankan shop worker in November 2011.

After the case, the Echo wrote to Attorney General Dominic Grieve – the government’s main legal adviser – complaining that the sentence was unduly lenient.

This week Mr Grieve’s office confirmed it is to consider whether the sentence should be referred to the Court of Appeal for review.

Manslaughter can carry a sentence of life imprisonment but Harrison, of Salerno Drive, Huyton, could be out in just over four years.

In a much-criticised verdict, a jury cleared the teenager of murder after he claimed his victim impaled himself on the knife which Harrison was carrying.

The newspaper’s letter to Mr Grieve read: “We are calling on the Attorney General to personally look into all the facts of this case and consider the concerns of the victim’s family.

“The Echo feels this is a sentence of worrying leniency which has come from a verdict which has left many uneasy. We believe it should be looked at again in the hope of going before the Court of Appeal.”

Echo executive editor Andrew Campbell added: “We are reflecting the outrage of many of our readers and people in the area and, as we cannot appeal the verdict, our only course of action is to appeal the sentence.

“We share the family’s profound sense of injustice.”

A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office confirmed the review process was under way in a statement issued on Tuesday night.

He said: “We have asked the CPS to send us the file so that one of the law officers can decide whether the sentence should be referred to the Court of Appeal for review.”

The Echo’s stance has won praise from Liverpool MPs who have also taken up the case with ministers.

Lib Dem MP John Pugh said: “The Echo is right to insist that these tragic facts need further explanation as justice – especially in the case of violent crime – needs to be seen to be done.”

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  • May 31, 2012 at 10:24 am

    So the lad was acquitted of murder by the jury but he didn’t receive the length of sentence a murderer would have got?
    The trouble here is that 10 years means four – which is where the real sense of outrage stems from.
    I’m not clued up on the double jeopardy law which presumably prevents a retrial for murder after what is generally regarded as a perverse verdict?

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