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Thursday, 16 December, 1999, 12:48 GMT
In their words - Bulger case quotes

Court president Julius Wildhaber announces the judgment

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the killers of toddler James Bulger did not receive a fair trial.

The UK Government was also wrong to increase the time Jon Venables and Robert Thompson would spend in jail, the court said.

"The killers have slick lawyers and always get kid glove treatment." Denise Fergus, James Bulger's mother

"We have the lawyers doing their utmost to get these killers out. Why do they put us through all this time and time again?" Ray Matthews, Denise Fergus's brother

"It is time for reason to begin to prevail over emotion in consideration of what should happen to the boys." Statement from the family of Jon Venables

"It's a very sad case but I think the decision is correct." John Dickinson, solicitor for Jon Venables

"The award of money to the boys is absolutely disgusting. It adds insult to injury." Former Detective Superintendent Albert Kirby who led the murder investigation

"The judgment does not overturn the verdict of murder in this case nor does it in any way exonerate the two youths for their part in this terrible crime." Home Secretary Jack Straw

"I frankly question the ability of judges sitting in Strasbourg to reach a conclusion of that kind on the proceedings that took place in the crown court in this case." Former home secretary Michael Howard

"A lot of people will be worried about that European court ruling." Conservative leader William Hague

"Even some of the lawyers are baffled by the European case. So how are people on the street, or journalists for that matter, meant to understand it in one day?" Peter Harvey, Liverpool Echo's crime correspondent

"Those that understand what the case is about are happy with the ruling."

BBC Radio Merseyside presenter Roger Phillips

"Jack Straw's role in the setting of tariffs or any part of sentences is over. I would say he has to withdraw gracefully." Child law expert Allan Levy, QC

"Children who are accused of crime - no matter how horrendous that crime is - are entitled to a fair trial." John Wadham of civil rights group Liberty

"This just reminds us that the European Court of Human Rights is an unnecessary intrusion upon our rights to run our own affairs." Tory peer Lord Tebbit

"Setting minimum tariff periods is a sentencing decision and sentencing decisions should be made by judges, not by politicians." Paul Cavadino of the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders

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See also:
16 Dec 99 |  UK
Reform pledge after Bulger ruling
16 Dec 99 |  UK
Bulger mother urges legal challenge
16 Dec 99 |  Talking Point
Should James Bulger's killers be freed early?
16 Dec 99 |  UK
Killers' parents welcome ruling
16 Dec 99 |  UK
The judgment in full
16 Dec 99 |  UK
A death that shocked the nation
16 Dec 99 |  UK
Child trials thrown into question

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