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.”

css.php