22 May 2012

John Paul Wootton was convicted of murder

The chairman of the justice committee has written to the director of public prosecutions asking him to review the tariff given to one of Constable Stephen Carroll’s killers.

Paul Givan said John Paul Wootton’s 14-year minimum tariff does not reflect the gravity of the crime.

He also said it would not act as a deterrent to others.

An assembly debate on sentencing for those who murder police officers is to take place on 11 June.

It will debate a motion calling for such sentences to be reviewed.

A Public Prosecution Service spokesperson said Mr Givan was acting on behalf of Constable Carroll’s widow Kate.

“Mrs Carroll, through Mr Givan MLA has asked the Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory QC, to review the sentence to decide whether or not it is appropriate for him to exercise his power under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that it may be unduly lenient,” they said.

In his letter to Mr McGrory, Mr Givan said the sentence “sends a very dangerous message to those organisations seeking to kill our police officers”.

“These organisations already actively target young people and in light of the court’s decision this will result in more young people being used by these organisations to carry out terrorist activities,” he wrote.

“On the face of it, I can see no material difference to justify the difference in sentencing of 25 years for Brendan McConville and 14 years for John Wootton.

“Both refused to testify in this case and showed no remorse for their actions.”

Constable Carroll, 48, was shot dead in Craigavon in March 2009.

After his killers were sentenced on Monday, his widow Kate said she was disgusted at the term imposed on Wootton, saying he had shown no remorse.