Labour attacks murder limit law

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Indy Politics
LABOUR will today make a last- ditch attempt to abolish the 'year and a day' rule that limits murder prosecutions to cases where the victim dies within 366 days of an attack, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

Tony Blair, shadow Home Secretary, and Alan Milburn, the MP for Darlington, have tabled a new Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill clause to scrap the rule for both murder and manslaughter.

During an earlier stage of the Bill, David Maclean, the Home Office minister, rejected an earlier Labour proposal because it only applied to murder.

One of Mr Milburn's constituents, Michael Gibson, was assaulted in April 1992 but remained comatose for 16 months before dying. David Clark, his assailant, received a two-year prison sentence and is now free.

Mr Milburn yesterday released the text of a letter from Barbara Mills, the Director of Public Prosecutions, telling him that had Mr Gibson died within a year and a day of the assault, Mr Clark would have been charged with manslaughter.

Mr Milburn said: 'There can be no justification for maintaining this antiquated law . . . The number of crime victims caught in this legal time warp will increase as the frontiers of medicine are pushed back.'