John Worboys: Parole Board Acknowledges Victims' 'Serious Suffering'

Elias Hubbard
March 14, 2018

Victims say the Parole Board should have considered "wider allegations" against Worboys, but Collins told the court on Wednesday that it was not the board's function to decide the "guilt or innocence" of a prisoner.

Worboys - who appeared via video link, looking grey and haggard - is known to have assaulted at least 105 women, though he was only jailed for offences against 12 in 2009.

Legal papers submitted to the High Court show that as recently as September a year ago, the prison authorities believed he posed such a risk that he needed to remain in a Category A prison.

A Parole Board decision that he should be freed on licence after spending less than a decade behind bars was widely criticised by his victims and politicians.

Ms Kaufmann said this "highly exceptional step" was "in the face of opposition" from senior prison managers, prison psychologists, the probation service and the justice secretary. He was jailed indefinitely in 2009, with a minimum term of eight years.

The barrister said: "The board indeed does not have to determine whether there has been a crime, or what it is, because there has been a criminal trial and a sentencing exercise".

Sir Brian Leveson and Mr Justice Garnham, who allowed judicial review proceedings to be pursued after hearing argument last month, also ordered that a temporary bar on Worboys' release, initially imposed in January by the High Court, should be continued.

Parole Board hearings are held in private, and the reasons for a decision are not made public. Nevertheless, their advice was accepted by the three-member parole panel, resulting in the legal challenge.

Two women, who can not be named for legal reasons, say something went "badly wrong" with the Parole Board's decision to free him, and that it was "irrational" and should be quashed. Three judges will then consider the evidence and reach a decision.

Two victims and London Mayor Sadiq Khan were given permission last month to mount a challenge over the lawfulness of the decision to free the serial sex attacker. John Worboys represents a significant threat to Londoners' safety and on behalf of his victims and survivors, I felt I had to be involved.

Thanks to the judicial review challenge, the public and John Worboys' victims can find out why the board ruled it was safe to release him.

He added: "Mr Radford is entitled to say, only if it is very clear that this decision is unlawful should it be interfered with".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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