Attorney General to review sentences handed out in Baby P case

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The Independent Online

The Attorney General is to consider appealing against the sentences in the Baby P case. If Baroness Scotland decides that they were unduly lenient, she will refer the case to the Court of Appeal where they could be increased.

Baby P, who can now be named as Peter, was 17 months old when he was found dead in his cot in Haringey, north London, in August 2007. Despite having been put on the at-risk register and visited 60 times by social workers in the months before he died, he had suffered a horrific catalogue of injuries, including a broken back.

At the Old Bailey last week his 27-year-old mother, who was described by the judge as "manipulative" and "calculating", was given an indefinite sentence with a minimum term of five years after pleading guilty to causing or allowing her son's death. Due to the time she has already spent on remand she will be eligible to apply for parole after three years.

Her boyfriend, 32, was jailed for life with a minimum of 10 years for raping a two-year-old girl, and was also given a 12-year term to run concurrently for his role in Peter's death. Again, due to time spent on remand, he can apply for parole in eight years.

The couple's lodger, Jason Owen, 37, of Bromley, south-east London, received an indefinite sentence with a minimum term of three years for failing to take steps to save the boy.

A spokesman for Baroness Scotland said: "The Attorney General can look at minimum tariffs imposed on life and indeterminate-sentence prisoners. However, it is important to understand that such prisoners are not released automatically after the minimum term has been served – they are only released when the independent parole board is satisfied that their continued detention is no longer necessary to protect the public."

Baroness Scotland has until 19 June to refer the case to the Court of Appeal. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which said it was "disappointed" with the prison sentences, has urged her to refer the case "without delay".