London mayor attacks decision not to challenge release of rapist ex-cabby

Pauline Gross
January 21, 2018

Worboys, 60, was jailed in 2009 for 19 separate offences including rape and sexual assault.

Lawyer Harriet Wistrich, who represents two of Worboys' victims, said in a statement that they meant to launch judicial review proceedings against the Parole Board as soon as next week.

Police believe Worboys carried out more than 100 rapes and sex attacks.

However he made clear that his decision did not stop victims bringing their own challenges against the Parole Board. Two of his victims have been crowdfunding for legal representation to challenge his release, and say they only found out he was leaving prison through the media.

David Gauke, the new Justice Secretary, commissioned advice on the highly unusual step of seeking a judicial review himself last weekend.

In a statement to the Commons on Friday, Mr Gauke said he could not give details of the legal advice he was given but noted that the bar for a judicial review to succeed is "very high".

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"I have decided it would not be appropriate for me as Secretary of State to proceed with such a case", he told MPs.

Meanwhile, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan described the government's decision as "extremely disappointing" - and said he too would be seeking to launch a judicial review.

The Parole Board heard his case in November and have since signed off on a release and today the Government confirmed they will not be reviewing the decision. We are glad that the Secretary of State agrees with our suggestion for an independent review on victim contact in the case of John Worboys. In the absence of a wholly compelling explanation for the decision, we intend to proceed with this challenge and lodge judicial review proceedings next week.

Lawyers have already sent a letter to the Parole Board threatening a judicial review proceedings on the grounds that its blanket prohibition of publishing reasons behind its decisions is unlawful.

Lawyers suggested it may have been impossible for Mr Gauke to "challenge his own rules" as the Justice Secretary, with his staff most likely contributing to the evidence used to order Worboys' release. The licensed London black cab driver told some women he had won money at a casino or lottery and offered them spiked champagne in an invitation to celebrate with him. The review will consider whether there should be a mechanism to allow parole decisions to be reconsidered and how that can be achieved while retaining the independence of the decision-making process. He has not given reasons for the negative advice received but it is possible that this is because one or more of the contributors to the parole board dossier that supported the decision to release may have been prison staff who are employed by the MoJ.

Other reports by GizPress

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