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Justice

Volume 579: debated on Monday 28 April 2014

Homicide

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what representations he has received on legislation on killing by one punch; and if he will make a statement; (190184)

(2) what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals on killing by one punch; and if he will make a statement;

(3) if he will introduce a mandatory 10 year minimum prison sentence for anyone who kills someone with a single punch while under the influence of alcohol; and if he will make a statement.

[Official Report, 19 March 2014, Vol. 577, c. 641W.]

Letter of correction from Jeremy Wright:

An error has been identified in the written answer given to the hon. Member for Enfield North (Nick de Bois) on 19 March 2014.

The full answer given was as follows:

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, my right hon. Friend the Member for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling), has not received any recent representations on legislation relating to killing by one punch. Such offending behaviour is covered by the existing offence of manslaughter and we have no plans to change the law in this area.

Manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, which gives the courts full flexibility to deal with all the circumstances of the cases which come before them. This is particularly important as manslaughter covers a broad range of behaviour. The Court of Appeal issued a guideline judgment in 2009 on sentencing for unlawful act manslaughter in which it stated that attention should be paid to the problem of gratuitous, unprovoked violence in our city centres and streets.

The correct response should have been:

The Ministry of Justice has received four letters in the last two years on legislation regarding killing by one punch. Such offending behaviour is covered by the existing offence of manslaughter and we have no plans to change the law in this area.

Manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, which gives the courts full flexibility to deal with all the circumstances of the cases which come before them. This is particularly important as manslaughter covers a broad range of behaviour. The Court of Appeal issued a guideline judgment in 2009 on sentencing for unlawful act manslaughter in which it stated that attention should be paid to the problem of gratuitous, unprovoked violence in our city centres and streets.