The Divisional Court today handed down judgment following a judicial review challenge brought by two of John Worboys’ victims known as DSD and NBV. The court has ruled that the Parole Board decision to release John Radford (who recently changed his name from Worboys) was irrational for failing to take into account relevant considerations. In particular, the Court found that the parole board failed to undertake inquiries into the extent of Worboys offending in order to test how honest and genuine his account to them was. As a consequence, he will remain in prison and a newly constituted parole board will have to re-assess his risk. Secondly the Court ruled that Rule 25 (1) Parole Board Rules which prohibits the publication of any details of a parole board decision or process is unlawful. More details of this judgment and an explanatory note can be found here.
The Court noted that this was an unprecedented and ‘wholly exceptionally case’ in that it is the first time a challenge has been made to a parole board decision by anyone other than the prisoner or Secretary of State. Ultimately, the court ruled that the London Mayor did not have standing in circumstances where two of Worboys’ victims were represented.
DSD stated,“I am so relieved that we have won. This decision has given me and many other women a little peace of mind. I am confident now that the errors and omissions at the last parole hearing won’t be repeated again in this particular case and they will bear in mind his wider offending. I am also pleased that the court has clarified that the CPS press statement issued in January this year implying that my case did not pass the evidential threshold is inconsistent with their explanations provided to me at the time, when they made clear that the reason my case was not prosecuted was because they did not want to overload the indictment.
It’s just a shame that we keep having to go to court at every turn to see justice served. Victims shouldn’t be put in this position to keep having to fight through the courts. I would also like to thank everyone for their overwhelming support, especially NBV as I’m not sure I could have done this alone."
NBV stated, “Since 4 January this year I have felt frozen in shock, disgusted and traumatised by the thought that Worboys could be on the streets so soon.I felt compelled to bring this case and hold the authorities to account again. But the constant reminders in the news have been distressing and made me want to hide. News that we have won this case finally brought huge relief. I can get on with my life again without looking over my shoulder.”
Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for the two claimants stated, “If it had not been for the determination of my two clients to hold the police to account, they would not have been in such a strong position to challenge the parole board decision. Since the media reported the decision of the parole board to release him after just ten years in custody, I have been inundated with calls from other victims of Worboys including several women who had never reported attacks by him before. It was immediately clear that all those who had encountered him previously were convinced he was a danger to women and would offend again.
This case from start to finish has illustrated the weakness of our criminal justice system to tackle serious sexual offending, from the failures of the police to adequately investigate; the weakness of CPS decision making selecting only a small number of cases to prosecute; the failure of the Secretary of State to ensure the Parole Board had all the necessary and relevant evidence; the failure of probation to consult all the victims, to ultimately the incomprehensible decision making of the Parole Board itself.
My clients and their legal team would like to thank all the other victims, women’s organisations and general public for their fantastic support and generous donations to the Crowd Justice campaign that enabled them to take this case forward.”