MORE than 1,000 crime victims have been given crucial details of Parole Board hearings in the wake of the John Worboys scandal.
Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove said she was “delighted” that so many people had learned more about prisoners’ possible release following a legal victory by The Sun.
Details of parole hearings were kept secret until a court challenge brought by two victims of black cab rapist John Worboys and The Sun[/caption]
In her final annual report, she called on the Government to go further and give all victims the legal right to be informed about their cases and the right to be heard by police and courts.
She said: “For many victims, the criminal justice system can appear a hostile environment. The process of getting justice can be as traumatic as the crime itself.”
Details of parole hearings were kept secret until a court challenge brought by two victims of Worboys and The Sun to find out why the black cab rapist was due to be freed.
The landmark victory meant that victims were given the right to apply for a summary of the reasons behind a decision.
The Victims’ Commissioner said: “It allows victims to understand how decisions are made and to feel they are a participant in the parole process and not merely an observer.
“Since then, more than 1,000 victims in the Victim Contact Scheme have asked to be sent a summary.
“This goes to prove victims want to be kept informed throughout their criminal justice journey.”
But she added that the letters must be written clearly so the decisions are not “lost in a fog of incomprehensible jargon”.
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Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove welcomed the news but said more could still be done[/caption]
Ministers have since said that victims will be allowed to challenge a parole decision without having to go to court under a new “reconsideration mechanism”.
Baroness Newlove said: “I am pleased to see it is open to all victims but still have some reservation about whether victims will have sufficient time and will be receiving the required level of support.”
The Parole Board said that it had produced 1,494 summary reports since rules changed a year ago and had only refused one request.
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