Parole Board ‘lost confidence after black cab rapist mistake’
THE Parole Board has suffered a “loss of confidence” following its error over releasing “the black-cab rapist” John Worboys, says its new chairman.
Caroline Corby revealed that the board now asks for more information on cases before making decisions, to avoid such mistakes in future.
Ms Corby’s predecessor, Nick Hardwick, was forced to quit after the High Court overturned the board’s decision to free serial sex offender Worboys.
Earlier this year, five women came forward with new allegations against the serial sex attacker, prompted by the decision that he was eligible for release after serving just 10 years.
The controversial ruling by the board was based upon the fact that when he was convicted in 2009 it was for 19 offences against 12 victims.
In March, the High Court ruled that the three-person panel that approved his release failed to explore a wider pattern of alleged offending.
The taxi driver, who drugged women before raping them in the back of his
‘It’s appalling that not one of the Parole Board’s 240 members is black – this undermines trust’
cab, had probably assaulted more than 100 women, the High Court said.
Mr Hardwick stepped down as chairman after being told by David Gauke, the Justice Secretary, that his position was untenable. The release rate by the Parole Board fell from 49 per cent to 42 per cent in the aftermath of the case.
“It was obviously a very difficult period for the board,” Ms Corby said. “We saw the departure of our previous chair in difficult circumstances, the board was subject to an unprecedented amount of publicity, and I think there was a loss of confidence among ourselves a little bit.”
The new chairman also expressed concern over the board’s ethnic makeup, to which David Lammy, the Labour MP, responded: “It’s appalling that not one of the Parole Board’s 240 members is black, while the prison population disproportionately is. This undermines trust and contributes to an atmosphere of ‘us’ and ‘them’.
“Corbyn is right to call out ‘unconscious bias’ – now we need action.”