Victims to be able challenge parole board decisions through the Justice Secretary in post-Worboys reforms

Victims to be able challenge parole board decisions through the Justice Secretary in post-Worboys reforms

Under the plans, victims who want to challenge a decision to release a particular offender would be able to apply to the Justice Secretary, on the basis that the ruling was “fundamentally flawed”.

The case would initially be examined by officials at the Prison and Probation Service, an agency of the Ministry of Justice, who will consider whether there could have been serious mistakes or legal flaws in the ruling.

If Mr Gauke decides that there is a case for the decision to be reviewed he will refer the appeal to a judge at the Parole Board.

The judge would apply similar thresholds to the bar needed to successfully launch a judicial review, based on illegality, irrationality and procedural unfairness, according to officials.

The judge would be able to either ask the original panel to review its decision or order a fresh hearing by a new panel.

Officials are understood to believe that victims of Worboys would have been able to challenge the decision to release him on the basis of procedural unfairness.

The move comes after Mr Gauke said in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph last year that he wanted to improve the treatment of victims throughout the criminal justice system.

“We can ensure that the system listens to victims, treats them with respect, treats them with sensitivity, ensures that they are properly communicated with, doesn’t leave them in the dark, doesn’t leave them feeling that they’re an afterthought,” he said.

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