Pa­role Board ‘lost con­fi­dence af­ter black cab rapist mis­take’

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Anna Mikhailova

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.”

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