Accept some blame for Worboys fiasco, justice secretary told

GETTY    
   BACK IN JAIL A decision to release black cab rapist John Worboys has been overturned

Nick Hardwick said Ministry of Justice officials omitted crucial details about the sexual predator's history from a dossier used in the decision, and the Parole Board was "no more at fault" than the MoJ.

Worboys' case will now be referred back to the Parole Board.

A jury convicted him on 19 charges related to the dozen attacks, which authorities suspect are only a fraction of his total crimes.

The secret hearing that cleared Worboys for release took place in November when David Lidington was Justice Secretary.

He was also found by a High Court judge to have committed offences against DSD, in a ruling on her case against the Metropolitan Police, and Worboys settled a claim she and 10 other women made against him for £241,000 without admitting any wrongdoing.

I am sorry for the mistakes that were made in this case but I have always made it clear that I will support the members and staff of the Board in the very hard individual decisions they make and I will accept accountability for the work of the Board.

"I accept that the Parole Board got it wrong, but I personally had no role in the decision", Hardwick explained, before calling for the Ministry of Justice to also admit failings.

"I don't accept that we were any more at fault than the Ministry of Justice and I don't believe that the right lessons will be learnt from this case if the only people accepting any responsibility for the things that went wrong here is us", he told the BBC. I will not pass the buck to those who work under me. I accept my share of responsibility - others should do so too'.

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The judicial review did not look at whether the original decision was right or not, but it looked at whether the proper processes were followed in reaching that decision. However, two of the victims, backed by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan launched a legal challenge, in the form of a judicial review.

The 336-page dossier compiled by the MoJ did not contain sentencing remarks by the judge at Worboys's trial, a psychiatric report from the time, nor mention a "rape kit" found in his vehicle containing condoms, sedatives and champagne.

She said: "I'm thrilled with the decision but I wasn't surprised at all because when I started these proceedings I had full confidence that mistakes had been made and it was clear that mistakes had been made so I was confident that we were going to win". Phillippa Kaufmann QC said it was the Ministry of Justice which was responsible for putting the dossier of evidence before the Parole Board.

Three judges ruled that the Parole Board must make a "fresh determination" in the case of the serial sex attacker following a challenge by victims.

Very glad of this decision by High Court.

However, in January 2018 the Parole Board, the independent group which assesses whether prisoners can be safely released into the community, recommended he be released after just ten years.

Figures show that in 2016/17, 63 prisoners were released from Category A jails.

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