John Worboys

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 23rd April 2018.

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Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the reasons were for information on the (a) rape kit, (b) remarks made by the sentencing judge at Worboys’ trial and (c) new information that emerged as a result of the legal action against the Metropolitan Police, not being included in the dossier of evidence on the John Worboys case that was provided to the Parole Board.

Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Holding answer received on 18 April 2018

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, who represented the Secretary of State, opposed release in this case. Indeed, the experienced offender manager, who recommended that Worboys remain in custody, considered that the Parole Board could undertake a thorough risk assessment based on the current convictions and the numerous references to wider allegations contained in the rest of the dossier.

The High Court’s findings on how the Parole Board reached the decision in this case, highlighted its failures to undertake further inquiry into the circumstances of offending and, in particular, the extent to which the limited way in which Worboys described his offending may undermine his overall credibility. The High Court found that this was so, even in relation to the offences for which he was convicted. It is the responsibility of the Parole Board to satisfy itself that an offender is no longer a risk to the public and it has powers to request further evidence it deems appropriate. The judgement of Sir Brian Leveson is clear that the Parole Board failed in its duty here.

The High Court found that although the sentencing remarks had been omitted, they did not detail the precise circumstances of Worboy’s offending.

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service submitted the dossier to the Parole Board on 26 April 2017. The Parole Board had sufficient time to request the sentencing remarks before the oral hearing, which took place on 8 November 2017, but did not so.

The sentencing remarks in this case were omitted as the result of an administrative oversight. I can provide reassurance that Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service had implemented fresh and robust checks on every dossier, before the High Court handed down its judgment, to ensure that dossiers are complete for the Parole Board to undertake its consideration in all future parole cases.

However, it is not usual to include police evidence, or information in respect of civil actions, in the dossier submitted to the Parole Board. In respect of the kit found by police, I can confirm that the dossier submitted to the Parole Board contained detailed descriptions of Worboy’s method of offending, including his use of substances to drug his victims.

As the High Court said, this was an exceptional case, as there were a very high number of complaints to the police, and two of Worboys victims brought a successful action against the Metropolitan Police for its failures to properly investigate their complaints.

Therefore, in the light of this judgement, the Secretary of State has pledged that all relevant evidence of past offending should be included in the dossiers submitted to the Parole Board, including, possibly, police evidence, so it can be robustly tested at each Parole Board hearing. Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service is in the process of issuing new guidance to ensure that this is absolutely clear to those submitting evidence.

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