Firms considering Bulger review

LAWYERS acting for the killers of Jamie Bulger are considering judicial review of the Home Secretary's 15-year life sentence tariff for their clients Jon Venables and Robert Thompson.

But they say that practical circumstances have made it difficult for them to work together on an appeal strategy.

Sole practitioner Laurence Lee, for Venables, says the lawyers involved have never really worked together.

“If we had acted more as a team it would have helped pychologically, even if it didn't help legally. That first day in the police station was the loneliest day of my life,” he says.

Lee stresses that there is no ill-feeling between the two parties and it is practicalities that have kept them apart.

“I don't think my client suffered as a result but it would have been nice to put up a united front,” he says.

Lee, and Thompson's solicitor Dominic Lloyd, of Paul Rooney & Co, are liaising with the two boys, their parents and counsel, before deciding on whether to apply for judicial review.

Lloyd says Michael Howard's decision to set a tarriff nearly double that recommended by the trial judge and five years on top of the sentence suggested by the Lord Chief Justice is “clearly unusual”.

He says the appeal, already lodged in the European courts, would complement a judicial review in the UK.

“The application for judicial review would question whether the Home Secretary's decision had been made properly.

“The European courts will be asking whether it is proper for the Home Secretary to make the decision at all,” says Lloyd.

Jamie Bulger's mother Denise is disappointed with the sentencing decision and has vowed to continue her campaign to ensure that the boys spend the rest of their lives in custody.