Convicts may be forced into court for sentencing after Sabina Nessa killer’s no show

Labor is calling for judges to force criminals to hear sentencings in person after Koci Selamaj refused to attend court at the end of the murder trial over the death of Sabina Nessa

Koci Selamaj was dubbed a ‘coward’ for not showing up in court

Convicted criminals could be forced into court to hear their sentences, it has been reported.

The Government is said to be considering a law change that would lengthen sentences for those who avoid facing justice in person.

The proposals follow the end of the trial into Sabina Nessa’s murder, in which killer Koci Selamaj, 36, was jailed for life for beating the teacher to death.

He was dubbed a “coward” by Sabina’s sister when he avoided hearing the judge’s damning comments and facing her family in court.

Now Labor is calling for judges to be given new powers forcing criminals to hear their sentences in person, The Sun reports, with the Ministry of Justice said to be open to the plans.

Jebina Yasmin Islam called for change so criminals have to cheat their sentences



Steve Reed, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, told the publication: “Judges need the power to force offenders to literally face justice in court, instead of refusing to attend court and causing more unimaginable grief to victims.”

A Government source said: “The Justice Secretary is looking at this very carefully.”

Under plans that could be brought in following a Labor election win, offenders who refuse to attend sentencing hearings could be charged with contempt of court and face even longer stints behind bars.

Sabina’s sister Jebina Yasmin Islam called for the law change at the end of the trial earlier this year, saying she was “frustrated” by Salamaj’s absence.

Sabina Nessa was targeted in a London park



“I think it’s so important, the fact that they should be able to make the murderer, the perpetrator, come into court and listen,” she said.

“I was frustrated. We were like, ‘He is such a coward, not facing up to what he has done’.

“It made me angry because I wanted him to hear our impact statement to show how much hurt he’s caused my family.”

Emma Tustin refused to attend her sentencing


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Salamaj, who has been jailed for life after targeting Sabina in a London park, is not the only criminal who has refused to face justice.

Emma Tustin stayed in her cell when she was handed a 29 sentence for murdering her step-son Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

Triple killer Anthony Russell, who raped and killed his final victim when she was pregnant, was also absent from his sentencing.

Hashem Abedi was jailed for killing 22 people



The brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi refused to show up to court when he was jailed for 55 years for murdering 22 people.

Lord Ken MacDonald, former Director of Public Prosecutions, has argued that judges should be given the power to force defendants to attend court.

“It’s really damaging to justice,” he told the BBC Today Programme.

“The government ought to consider this urgently.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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