In these columns I have previously identified the unqualified necessity for the independence of action and decision-making of the Parole Board to remain intact in the wake of the furore over the John Worboys case.
Now, most helpfully and unequivocally, we have that indispensable principle reaffirmed in the case of Paul Wakenshaw.
Whatever we may think of Wakenshaw, his record of persistent offending and his prospects of a successful Parole Board review, in all parties to that process – offenders or offended – there must repose an unshakeable faith in the integrity of that process and its freedom from executive interference.
Equally, the High Court has censured the ill-advised pressure exerted by justice secretary David Gauke upon the then board chair, professor Nick Hardwick, to resign.
In my firm view this is a timely reiteration of the quintessential maintenance of due process and the rule of law.
Let us hope that it will inform the review in a mature way.
Malcolm Fowler is a solicitor and higher-court advocate, Kings Heath, Birmingham