Year and day rule review

ABOLITION of the year and a day rule should be put on the statute book as soon as possible, according to Law Commissioner Stephen Silber QC.

Silber, responsible for criminal law, says the almost unanimous support to abolish the centuries-old law is proof of the need for swift action.

A commission report says the rule does not account for technological advances, which keep patients alive for years. This can lead to overly lenient sentences for those accused of crimes like murder and manslaughter.

But the Attorney General's consent should be required before prosecution where there has been a three-year time lapse before death, or where the accused has already been sentenced to jail for two years or more for a lesser offence arising from the same incident.