I did actually speak to the Lord Chancellor about this matter earlier today and have an answer that, if I may, I will read out because I hope it provides the equivalent of a statement:
“The murder of Ben Bellamy in September 2005 was a terrible crime, for which Joshua Thomas and Joel Taylor are rightly serving the juvenile equivalent of life sentences. Ben’s family are receiving the services provided under the Probation Victim Contact Scheme, as they are entitled to receive under the law. The Probation Service has apologised”— let me stress that—
“for not notifying the family in 2017 in time that the High Court was hearing Joshua Thomas’s application for a reduction in his minimum term of imprisonment. The family’s Victim Liaison Officer is committed to ensuring that the family are notified well in time to exercise their rights in relation to both prisoners’
future parole reviews.”
I thank the hon. Lady for bringing this to the attention of the House. I believe that the Lord Chancellor has taken this very seriously, that the probation department has taken this seriously, and that this must not and should not happen again.