Torture boys' terms 'not lenient'
Published 16/02/2010 | 16:43
The Government's chief law officer has decided not to challenge the sentences handed down to two brothers who sadistically tortured two young boys.
Last month the attackers, now aged 11 and 12, were sentenced to indefinite detention with a minimum term of five years for the brutal assault in Edlington, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
The Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, was urged to refer the sentences to the Court of Appeal. But in a statement she said: "The judge was clearly correct to impose indeterminate sentences of detention and I agree with his analysis and with the minimum terms he set."
There was public outcry over the sentences, with commentators and children's charities suggesting it was wrong that the boys could be released before their 16th birthdays.
Lady Scotland called in the case papers, but rejected the suggestion that the jail terms were unduly lenient. In a statement she accepted the case was "truly shocking", but she said five years was the "very least" the boys would serve. They will only be released when the risk they pose to the public is seen as "acceptable", she said.
"If I believe the Court of Appeal should examine a sentence I won't hesitate to ask," she said. "In this case the judge approached the sentencing exercise with care and, after looking at all the factors involved, I do not consider the terms to be unduly lenient.
"Both of these sentences will prevent the offenders' release from custody unless and until the Parole Board decides that the risk that they pose to the public is acceptable. Release is by no means automatic."
Sentencing the pair at Sheffield Crown Court, Mr Justice Keith described the crimes as "truly exceptional". They were carried out "for no reason other than that you got a real kick out of hurting and humiliating them", he said.
The victims, then aged nine and 11, were lured to secluded woodland in April last year and subjected to 90 minutes of violence and sexual humiliation. They were strangled, hit with bricks, made to eat nettles, stripped and forced to sexually abuse each other. The older boy was seriously injured when part of a sink was dropped on his head.
Following sentencing, Doncaster Council apologised to the victims and their families for its failings in the case.