Category Archives: Parole

Worboys Judicial Review Latest – Court ‘minded to grant permission’

paroleboardBlack-cab rapist John Worboys is appearing in person at the High Court to hear whether the decision to release him will face a legal challenge.

He appeared in the dock of Court 5 at the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday, after Sir Brian Leveson asked for him to be brought from prison.

The judge, sitting with Mr Justice Garnham, said he had a difficult experience with a video-link on Tuesday and, in light of that, asked the serial sex attacker to attend in person.

The court heard that the victims were not expecting him to attend in person and at least one of them was unhappy to learn he would be there.

Sir Brian said: “I am sorry about that but I am sure you will appreciate and you have explained why it is not possible, sensibly, to conduct this hearing without him being present in some way.”

The judge said that, as Worboys does not yet have legal representation, it was important he was able to be there at the hearing.

Worboys was jailed indefinitely in 2009, with a minimum term of eight years, for drugging and sexually assaulting women passengers.

Worboys has been brought into the dock of the London courtroom.

Sir Brian Leveson explained to him about what the case is about and he replied that he wanted to have legal representation.

Sir Brian said he had “no doubt” that it was “appropriate” he should be legally represented.

Phillippa Kaufmann QC, for the victims, explained to Worboys that part of their case was that the Parole Board had reached an “irrational” decision.

She said it “appears that something has gone very wrong” and the victims were “concerned not only for themselves but for the wider public and women in particular”.

The victims were also concerned that the decision was “made entirely in secret”.

Worboys, who now goes by the name of John Radford, was given half an hour to speak to a lawyer.

Sir Brian told the serial sex attacker that solicitor Dean Kingham, a Parole Board hearing specialist who was attending because of his professional interest in the case, was available to give him some advice.

The judge added: “I am going to give the opportunity for that to happen because I am concerned that Mr Radford has been without advice.

“It is far better that he does have some advice so that a legal aid certificate can be obtained and he can be properly represented.”

Earlier in the hearing, Worboys agreed that the victims and the Mayor should be allowed to see the Parole Board’s reasons for ordering his release.

Ms Kaufmann told the court the two victims bringing the case were “very concerned” to ensure something had not gone “horribly wrong” with the Parole Board process.

She said part of their challenge is that the rule preventing the Parole Board from telling the public any of the reasons for its decision “is itself unlawful”.

She added: “That kind of blanket secrecy is something that is contrary to a fundamental principle of our law, which is that justice is administered in the open.”

Ms Kaufmann told the court that media representatives are also challenging the secrecy rule.

Lawyers representing the Parole Board and the Justice Secretary said they were not opposed to a full judicial review hearing going ahead.

Ben Collins, for the Parole Board, told the court: “The board does not wish to take any step to prevent a review of the decision and does not propose to stand in the way.”

Sir Brian said it was likely that he and Mr Justice Garnham would be “minded to grant permission” for the review, but they have not yet made a final decision.

Mark Leech, editor of The Prisons Handbook for England and Wales said the victims may have a case.

Mr Leech said: “Counsel for victims, Philippa Kaufmann QC, says the Parole Board Rules preventing the disclosure of details in individual parole cases is itself ultra vires – meaning it is a rule made that is outside the remit of the enabling legislation.

“When you look at enabling sections, 239(5), 330(3) and 330(4) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, she may well have a point – it is a very broad rule-making provision and the court may deem that it is insufficient in itself to oust such an important right as the general right of open justice.

“That doesn’t mean the Parole Board erred in its decision-making in the Worboys case, simply that the provision demanding secrecy around that decision is not enforceable – this is an important case.”

PAROLE BOARD: Review ‘A Priority’ After Worboys Case Says New Justice Secretary

The Parole Board followed “the correct procedures” when informing the victims of “black cab rapist” John Worboys of his release. However, Justice Secretary David Gauke told MPs the fact that some of the women learned of the decision from the media meant there was a need to review procedures. Mr Gauke, speaking in the Commons,… Continue Reading

Murder victim’s mother ‘devastated’ that killer may go to an open prison

A murder victim’s mother is “devastated” after discovering her killer could be moved to an open prison, despite never revealing where her body is buried. Ian Simms abducted and murdered Helen McCourt in 1988 but has never admitted what he did or disclosed where the 22-year-old’s remains are. Simms, formerly a pub landlord, was convicted… Continue Reading

Parole Board Apology Over Killers’ Parole Move

The Parole Board has apologised after a Merseyside murder victim’s parents were among the last to learn the killers could be moved to open prisons, MPs have heard. Geraldine and Peter McGinty previously overheard a judge saying their victim statements made ”no difference” when considering parole for the killers of their son Colin, who was… Continue Reading

Cop Killer Harry Roberts Released

Police killer Harry Roberts has been released from prison, despite calls from relatives of his victims, politicians and senior police for him to stay behind bars. The 78-year-old, who was jailed for life for shooting dead three unarmed policemen in 1966, was released from Littlehey prison in Cambridgeshire on Monday night, The Sun reported. Chairman… Continue Reading

Duchess of York Lifer – Freed in Weeks?

A murderer who once worked as an aide to Sarah Ferguson could be freed from her life sentence within weeks after applying for early release – but one prisons expert argues it will be at least another three years before she is in any realistic position to be freed. Jane Andrews, 46, who stabbed her… Continue Reading