The High Court has begun hearing challenges by two victims and the Mayor of London to the Parole Board's decision to release 'black cab rapist' John Worboys.
The cases - Mayor of London v Parole Board of England and Wales, NBV v Parole Board of England and Wales, and News Group Newspapers Limited v Parole Board of England and Wales - are being heard before Sir Brian Leveson, president of the Queen's Bench Division, Mr Justice Garnham and Mr Justice Jay in Court 5 of the Royal Courts of Justice. Worboys now goes by the name John Radford.
At a packed court for John #Worboys Judicial review hearing. Worboys wearing glasses & grey sweater watching via Prison videolink— Danny Shaw (@DannyShawBBC) March 13, 2018
Ahead of the hearing, solicitor Harriet Wistrich, of civil liberties firm Birnberg Pierce, which is representing the two victims, told the Gazette:' We are hoping that the court will rule that greater transparency is required of parole board decision making, and that the decision by the Parole Board in this case was flawed and needs to be reviewed again taking into account the wider circumstances of Worboys' offending.'
The Parole Board currently has a statutory duty that prevents proceedings being disclosed. However, Professor Nick Hardwick, Parole Board chair, confirmed in January that the Worboys decision was made by a three-member panel chaired by 'one of our most experienced women members'. The panel considered a 363-page dossier, and heard evidence from four psychologists, and prisons and probation staff responsible for Worboys. The justice secretary was represented at the board's request. Worboys was questioned 'in detail'. The panel also considered a written statement from one victim.
Hardwick has long called for greater transparency of the parole system but highlighted constraints in a speech to the Faculty of Forensic Psychiatry annual conference last month. The Ministry of Justice is currently reviewing how Parole Board decisions can be challenged.