The widow of PC Andrew Harper, the British policeman killed when he was dragged behind a getaway car in August 2019, has spoken out against the reported legal aid costs his three killers were awarded for their legal defense.
Reacting to The Daily Mails reporting on Thursday that her husbands three killers collectively received £465,000 ($617,000) in legal aid funding for their defense, Lissie Harper reportedly said in a statement, “This just doesnt seem right or fair.”
“Not only did we not get justice for Andrew, we now know the cost of that injustice,” she said.
“I am sure the public—whose support for me has been unstinting—will be as horrified as I am to know how much money is going towards paying this trios escalating legal costs.”
Right to Representation
If your income is £12,475 ($16,605) per year, or less, you will always be granted legal aid for such cases.
The Ministry of Justice said that the legal aid granted to the teenagers had gone straight to their legal teams.
“These offenders did not [directly] receive a penny of legal aid—it went to lawyers to ensure a fair trial,” a Ministry of Justice spokesperson told The Epoch Times.
Simon Davis, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, told The Epoch Times, “An important pillar of our criminal justice system is that anyone accused of a crime is entitled to a fair trial and for that to happen they need access to a proper defence.
“To preserve access to justice and the rule of law, legal representation must be available to those without the means to provide it.”
Harper, backed by the Police Federation of England and Wales, has mounted a campaign in her deceased husbands name called “Harpers Law” to fight for harsher sentencing for the convicted killers of emergency services workers following the conviction of her husbands killers for manslaughter.
Harper has now secured a meeting with Home Secretary Priti Patel to discuss her campaign.
PC Harpers three killers, Henry Long, 19, Albert Bowers, 18, and Jessie Cole, 18, were cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter at Londons Old Bailey in July.
Long, who was driving the getaway car, was sentenced to 16 years in prison while Cole and Bowers, the two passengers in the car, were both sentenced to 13 years in prison.
The Ministry of Justice explained that judges do have to take into account the victims occupation when sentencing criminals.
“Our Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act means judges must also consider tougher sentences for more serious offenses—such as manslaughter, GBH or sexual assault—if the victim was an emergency worker,” a Ministry of Justice spokesperson told The Epoch Times.
The Attorney General Suella Braverman announced last week that she believes the sentences are too low. She has sent the sentences of the three killers to the Court of Appeal for review under the UKs Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme.
“Having personally considered the details of this shocking case, I have decided to refer the sentences of PC Andrew Harpers killers to the Court of Appeal,” she said in a statement.
“This was a horrific cRead More – Source