Ali Naseem Bajwa QC and Stephanie Ward appeared in an important Court of Appeal judgment on life sentences and whole life orders.
A specially constituted five-judge Court of Appeal - comprising the Lord Chief Justice, Hallett LJ, Hughes LJ, Leveson LJ and Raffety LJ - examined the human rights compatibility and appropriateness of 5 prisoners serving life imprisonment with no specified minimum terms (a whole life order).
Mr. Bajwa QC and Ms. Ward acted for a prisoner, variously labelled 'The Southwark Rapist' and 'The Beast of Bermondsey', who had been convicted of attacking elderly women in their home and committed offences of violence and sexual assault. He was the first person to receive a whole life order who had not been convicted of an offence of murder.
Whilst the Court acknowledged the dreadful seriousness of the crimes, it was observed that it was possible to envisage worse and more exceptional cases, for which the whole life order is reserved.
The whole life order was quashed and a minimum term of 25 years imposed.