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Catch 22 for the black cab rapist John Worboys

Black cab rapist John Worboys is to stay in jail for now following landmark legal action by two of his victims 

Black cab rapist John Worboys could still be charged with further offences should he make another bid for parole, justice experts claimed last night. 

The serial sex attacker’s release from prison was this week blocked after a High Court ruling found the Parole Board had wrongly assessed his case. 

The decision to free him was made while taking into account his 19 convictions — and not the 100 or more he offences he is suspected of carrying out. 

The Parole Board decided to free Worboys after finding he had learned ‘not to hide negative thoughts and feelings’ during ‘positive’ treatment with psychologists.

They claimed the former black cab driver had shown ‘good insight’ into his risk factors and triggers and how to manage them.

The 60-year-old is set to face another parole board hearing where he will argue he is safe to be set free. 

But he will have to acknowledge the other rapes and sexual assaults he is accused of in order to prove that his a reformed character. 

And any further confession he makes could provide police with the evidence needed to bring further charges against him. 

Worboys raped his victims after drugging them with wine while giving them lifts home

Worboys raped his victims after drugging them with wine while giving them lifts home

Worboys raped his victims after drugging them with wine while giving them lifts home

Harry Fletcher, the former probation union chief and now a victim’s rights campaigner, said the black cab rapist was in a Catch-22 situation that could ruin any chance he has of being set free in the near future. 

‘What the Parole Board will now have to do is take into account the other offences,’ Mr Fletcher told The Telegraph. 

‘When the panel re-assess him, they will have to ask him to acknowledge all of his offending and list the other victims. If he denies those he will have a problem and they won’t let him out.’

Mr Fletcher added that had Worboys been convicted of the other rapes, he could have been jailed for 25 years. 

It comes after prosecutors insisted that Worboys had been charged with every rape with evidence which reached a the required threshold. 

Worboys was convicted of attacks on 12 women at his 2009 trial after ‘sample’ charges were brought by the Crown Prosecution Service. But police believe he assaulted at least 105 between 2002 and 2008. 

Worboys' black cab (pictured) was used to pick up victims who were offered cut price fares

Worboys’ black cab (pictured) was used to pick up victims who were offered cut price fares

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is facing mounting pressure to review the decision not to charge Worboys in connection with some of the 83 cases that police passed files to them on. 

A spokesman for the CPS said that every rape allegation which met the evidential test was prosecuted. 

In 2009, following Worboys’ conviction, a further 19 women came forward and another 10 went to the police following the Parole Board’s decision. 

No further charges have been brought forward and the CPS said ti would only review the cases should new evidence surface.  

Why was John Worboys approved for release in the first place?

The Parole Board’s reasons for releasing John Worboys were only made public during the High Court appeal.   

The parole board accepted Worboys posed a reduced risk of reoffending because: 

  • Worboys had taken full responsibility for his offending. 
  • He had undertaken treatment. 
  • The sex offender had shown ‘good insight’ into his risk factors and triggers and how to manage them.
  • He had been ‘open and honest’ with professionals and was considered likely to remain compliant following his return to the community
A prison van carrying Worboys leaves the Royal Courts of Justice after the hearing in February

A prison van carrying Worboys leaves the Royal Courts of Justice after the hearing in February

Victim ‘let down’ by authorities calls for new prosecutions

One of the women who won a landmark ruling over the decision to release black cab rapist John Worboys said she fought the case because she does not want others to go through the same ordeal.

The woman, who can only be identified as DSD, said she was ‘absolutely thrilled’ with the High Court’s ruling on Wednesday, but felt she and other women had been ‘let down’ by the justice system.

She said: ‘I have always said one of the reasons I am doing this is to give women the confidence that they can come forward and it will be dealt with.

‘I wouldn’t want another woman to go through what I have been through the past 10 to 15 years.

‘I want women to be able to go to the police, report a crime and have it dealt with adequately.’

One of the victim's who brought the case (left) talks to Sky News's David Bowden today

One of the victim’s who brought the case (left) talks to Sky News’s David Bowden today

She added: ‘It is the whole system that has failed. I feel like I have been let down at every step. It is wrong that we have been put in this situation.

‘As victims we should have been supported and not having to fight every step of the way in court.’

Worboys was never prosecuted over the allegations made by DSD, but for a range of ‘sample’ offences.

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.

She said she believes the 60-year-old serial sex attacker could have been prosecuted for the allegations she made against him and will continue her fight.

She added: ‘At some point I do need to draw a line under all this, I can’t carry on for the next 10 to 15 years and keep going into court over various things.

‘That is why I was keen to prosecute on my case, because that would give me the ultimate closure and I would be able to get on with my life.

‘But having said that, I am not quite ready to give up just yet.’ 

Kim Harrison, a lawyer from Slater and Gordon which represented 11 of Worboys' victims said the firm's clients were 'delighted and deeply relieved'

Kim Harrison, a lawyer from Slater and Gordon which represented 11 of Worboys’ victims said the firm’s clients were ‘delighted and deeply relieved’

Parole Board chief is forced to resign just minutes before the High Court overturned decision to free black cab rapist John Worboys 

The chairman of the Parole Board has been forced to quit as his organisation faces sweeping changes in the wake of the John Worboys ruling.

Professor Nick Hardwick was told his position was ‘untenable’ after two victims of the serial sex offender won a High Court challenge against the black cab rapist’s release from prison.

He was not personally involved in the move to approve freeing Worboys but said he would not ‘pass the buck to those who work under me’.

In a letter to Justice Secretary David Gauke, released today, he said: ‘I want to state my concern about the independence of the board.

‘I believe this matter raises very troubling questions about how the board’s independence can be safeguarded. I hope Parliament will consider what structural changes are necessary to ensure this independence is protected in future.’

Parole Board chairman Professor Nick Hardwick defended himself in his resignation letter

Parole Board chairman Professor Nick Hardwick defended himself in his resignation letter

In his resignation letter, Professor Hardwick acknowledged that the ruling was critical of ‘some aspects’ of the panel’s decision-making processes, although he noted that it ‘did not overturn the panel’s decisions on these grounds’.

He said: ‘The court did however find that the panel’s understanding that it could not go beyond the offences for which Worboys was convicted was mistaken.

‘I shared the panel’s misapprehension in this matter and this was supported by the advice I received. We were wrong.’

Professor  Hardwick insisted he had called for reforms to the parole system before the case

Professor Hardwick insisted he had called for reforms to the parole system before the case

Addressing Mr Gauke, who he met on Tuesday, Prof Hardwick said: ‘You told me that you thought my position was untenable.’

The outgoing chairman said he had no role in the decision and believes he is capable of leading the Parole Board ‘through the changes, many of which I have advocated, that will now be necessary’.

Saying he was ‘sorry for the mistakes that were made’, Prof Hardwick said he would ‘accept accountability’ for the Board’s work and ‘will not pass the buck to those who work under me’. 

The Parole Board is an independent body that carries out risk assessments on prisoners to determine whether they can be safely released.

It is currently bound by law to keep the reasons for its decisions private but this rule will be scrapped in the wake of the Worboys controversy. Prof Hardwick had backed plans for greater transparency.

Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: ‘Nick Hardwick has made an important contribution to the work of the Parole Board and has been a vocal advocate for reform. His departure is a matter of real regret.

‘The independence of the Parole Board is critical to its vital role in overseeing the safe release of prisoners and Nick Hardwick is right to highlight the threats to its independence in his letter of resignation.

‘It is a cornerstone of an independent parole system that decisions about the liberty of individuals should not be a matter for government ministers.

‘In order to strengthen the confidence of the public, victims and prisoners in its work, our submission to the parole review urges the government to establish the Parole Board as an independent legal tribunal and make improvements to the transparency and accountability of the parole system as a whole.’

In their own words: How the parole board justified freeing sex attacker

Today’s judgement reveals the reasons given by the three-person panel which recommended Worboys be released.

The panel told Worboys: ‘You evidence good insight as to your risk factors and how you can use internalised risk management skills to ensure that you do not re-offend.

‘You have learnt to be open and honest with professionals and you are assessed as being compliant and motivated to remain compliant when in the community.’

Worboys told them: ‘I’m deeply sorry about what I have done. I feel I’ve become a better person since I changed my stance and admitted my guilt.’ 

He added: ‘From 2011 I felt so guilty didn’t know who to speak to – I found religion – decided if I’m going to follow the Lord I’ve got to be honest and admit what I have done’. 

The panel added: ‘Clinical opinions indicate that the risks you pose are manageable in the community and lack imminence… your risks are assessed as being manageable and lacking imminence in the community and in open prison conditions. ‘

Justice Secretary David Gauke comes under fire for refusing to challenge the decision to release black cab rapist John Worboys as bookies slash the odds of him being ousted as a minister

David Gauke (pictured in Parliament today) had suggested that he would mount a legal challenge against the Parole Board decision to release the rapist, but later U-turned

David Gauke (pictured in Parliament today) had suggested that he would mount a legal challenge against the Parole Board decision to release the rapist, but later U-turned

Justice Secretary David Gauke today faced criticism over his refusal to bring a legal case to release black cab rapist John Worboys.

Mr Gauke had suggested that he would mount a legal challenge against the Parole Board decision to release the rapist, but later U-turned.

The serial sex attacker’s victims stepped in to crowdfund their own legal challenge and today won their landmark High Court case to keep him locked up.

Labour said the saga has raised questions about Mr Gauke’s judgment and the bookies have slashed the odds of him being the next minister to leave the Government.

Labour’s shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said the minister must ‘accept responsibility in the failings for the dossier presented by the Ministry of Justice’.

Clashing with the minister in the Commons today, he added: ‘Can you give more information on why he chose not to pursue his own judicial review.

‘And to be blunt, do you regret your decision to pursue a cheap headline and brief the weekend newspapers in advance before properly checking if you could pursue a judicial review?

‘It is not just me asking this question, it has been reported that his conservative colleagues are asking this question a well to the extent that the Prime Minister has been moved to say today that she still has full confidence in him.’

Labour's shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said the minister must 'accept responsibility in the failings for the dossier presented by the Ministry of Justice'.

Labour’s shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said the minister must ‘accept responsibility in the failings for the dossier presented by the Ministry of Justice’.

The Labour frontbencher said that it was only down to the tireless efforts of victims that Worboys, 60, is staying behind bars.

And he called for legal aid to be given to people mounting judicial review challenges.

Mr Burgon said: ‘Personally I don’t think it’s right that victims of people like John Worboys have to crowdfund to pursue justice, because justice cannot depend on the depths of your pockets.’

He added: ‘There have been widespread failings in this case from the very outset.’

What are the reforms to the way parole boards operate does David Gauke want to bring in?

The Justice Secretary (pictured today) said he wanted to bring in reforms that would shatter the the secrecy that currently surrounds parole board decisions

The Justice Secretary (pictured today) said he wanted to bring in reforms that would shatter the the secrecy that currently surrounds parole board decisions

David Gauke today vowed to usher in radical reforms to shatter the secrecy surrounding the way parole boards work in the wake of criticism over the John Worboys case.

The Justice Secretary said he wanted to bring in reforms that would shatter the  the secrecy that currently surrounds parole board decisions.

He wants to abolish the much criticised Rule 25 so that summaries of the decisions reached by parole boards can be given to victims affected.

And he said he also wants to create a system so that parole board decisions can go to an appeal which is heard by a judge led panel.

He told the Commons about his ‘his intention to ‘conduct further work to examine the Parole Board rules in their entirety’.

He added: ‘As a result of the work that has been completed to date, I have already decided to abolish Rule 25 and will do so as soon as possible after the Easter recess,

‘This will enable us to provide for the Parole Board to make available summaries of the decisions they make to victims. In addition, I will bring forward proposals for Parole Board decisions to be challenged.

‘I intend to consult on the detail of these proposals by the end of April alongside other proposals to improve the way that victims are kept informed about the parole process.

‘I will make a statement to Parliament this afternoon and set out our response to the judgment – and our next steps – in more detail.’

 

Meanwhile, Ladbrokes said they slashed the odds of Mr Gauke being the next minister to leave Theresa May’s Government from 50/1 to 5/1.

But Mr Gauke defended his decision saying that he followed the legal advice and made it clear he would not stand in the way of victims bringing their own case.

He said: ‘I made no secret that I was considering a judicial review …

‘The reality was that the victims were in a better position to bring a successful case than I was.

‘What is also very important is that we should ensure in the future that where the parole board reaches a conclusion that reaches certain criteria there is an ability for the parole board to be able to look again at this.’

And several Tory big-hitters backed the Justice Secretary and said it was right that he followed the legal advice.

Former justice secretary Ken Clarke came to the defence of Mr Gauke, saying that it would have been ‘scandalous’ to ignore the original legal advice not to launch a judicial review.

He said: ‘It would be absolutely scandalous if he as Justice Secretary had ignored the legal advice he got, which sounds to be perfectly sensible on the basis of the facts available to him.

‘It would be a very bad day if ministers started intervening in criminal sentencing cases in response to campaigning and did not judge them objectively according to the rule of law and the public interest.’

Worboys was due to be released from prison but judges at London’s High Court ordered the parole board to review their flawed decision to free him.

The serial sex attacker was prosecuted for attacks on 12 women but police believe he may have more than 100 victims making him perhaps the most prolific sex attacker ever.

The judges found there were flaws in the decisions to release him and the chairman of the Parole Board, Professor Nick Hardwick, was forced to quit today in response to the scandal.

One of the victims said: ‘I can get on with my life again without looking over my shoulder. The constant reminders in the news have been distressing and made me want to hide.’

But there is growing anger at the Justice Secretary that the women were forced to bring the case themselves, rather than the government taking action.

Today’s ruling means the decision over whether to release Worboys will go back before a different parole panel.

A new decision is not expected for several months, during which Worboys will remain behind bars.

 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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