Martin to be exempt from usual probation procedures

Click to follow

Tony Martin, the farmer convicted of manslaughter whose case has become a cause célèbre, will be exempt from traditional probation procedures when he is released from prison today.

As media attention during the countdown to his release gathered pace, it emerged that Martin will not report to a probation office in his local Norfolk area for "operational reasons". Instead, the Home Office has arranged for Martin to report outside Norfolk. "This arrangement is not the status quo but we're keen to emphasise that it is not unusual and does not set any precedent," a Home Office spokeswoman said.

Martin, 58, has served two-thirds of a five-year sentence for the manslaughter of Fred Barras, 16, who was shot during a burglary at Martin's isolated farmhouse.

The completion of his custodial sentence has been marred by a growing row over the early release from jail of a second burglar shot by Martin during the same incident. Brendan Fearon, 33, was released on Friday having completed less than a third of an 18-month sentence for heroin dealing.

David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, has demanded a report from the head of the Prison Service in connection with the early release of Fearon.

Henry Bellingham, MP for North West Norfolk, said: "There are people in the Home Office who deeply resent the fact that Tony Martin ... is going to come out of prison and wage various campaigns, not least to get the legal aid rules changed and debate the laws about householders' rights."

A mobile police station has been installed near Martin's home in the village of Emneth Hungate after threats of revenge attacks.However, while Fearon announced earlier this year that he was planning to sue the farmer for £15,000 in damages, there were reports last night that he had decided to drop any civil action.