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Friday, 15 January 2016


I would like to alert your readers to a significant legal case to be heard on the 9th of February 2016, R (Stellato) v The Parole Board. Currently the courts have been following the Lords decision in (West) that if you are recalled illegally or adjustably you are still legally held in prison. The House of Lords resigned from that the position in (West) at Para 74 in R (Black) v Secretary of State for Justice (2009). Lord Brown asserted that ‘It would not be lawful to recall a prisoner unless he had breached his license conditions’.

My case should clearly establish that everyone recalled has been assessed with the incorrect test as Article 5(4) gives you the right to challenge your detention and the test has to be wide enough to cover the breach. If you have not breached your license conditions then you are entitled to compensation. If successful, it will mean that everyone who has been recalled is a victim of violation of Article 5(4) if it can be shown that the court which laid down the statutory test was made per incurium. The logic and reason is with me, I conducted the research myself, and although that is only one of my grounds it may significantly alter the recall landscape.

I am further advancing vis-a-vis D cat, that a governor cannot change your categorisation if you have been released as a D cat as everyone who is recalled is presumed in law to be innocent or not to have breached their license until the State has proven it was breached and if you have to wait for an oral hearing or proceeding to Judicial Review it would be subjudice. So, not only are you not precluded from D cat on recall (PSI 40/2011: sec 5.3) but also the governor cannot claim that you did breach your license.

After I win my case on the 9th of February you should seek a new hearing before the Parole Board, or sue for damages for breach of Article 5(4) because you couldn’t effectively challenge your detention so claim damages for false imprisonment. The level of financial damages for 6 months is roughly £35,000, but with a diminishing amount thereafter – see Evans, para 7 {R (PB) – v – SSHD (2008).

Early Release Scheme

Justice Minister David Ford’s Early Release Scheme introduced on June 1st 2015, seems to have been heralded as a success with the recent release of 13 prisoners serving what constitutes as a ‘Lesser Offence’. The scheme is indeed a milestone towards the reform of the prison system in reducing overcrowding. Mr Ford, however, stated that sex offenders, terrorists and life sentenced prisoners would be excluded from the scheme. What a sweeping statement to make! Is it right that the scheme should be limited to those serving a prison term of a ‘lesser offence’ should only be considered?
Any offence that warrants a prison sentence is obviously going to be of a serious nature to facilitate the incarceration of the guilty person. Figures show that 58% of adult prisoners serving shorter sentences for ‘lesser offences’ reoffend within one year of release. It is not only those convicted of ‘lesser offences’ that can be assessed as ‘presenting a low risk of reoffending’ but also those convicted of categories not contained within the realm of a ‘lesser offence’.

Mr Ford unfairly tars, for example, all sex offenders with the same brush. My level of risk reoffending is 1.1% over two years, reducing to 0.8% over four years, yet even with a low risk of reoffending Mr Ford is excluding people like myself from being included in this scheme
Justice Secretary Mr Gove, on 17th of July 2015, made a speech on prison reform and confirmed the plans concerning early release for prisoners. His comments were targeted at prisoners that were motivated to working towards qualifications. He stated – ‘I am attracted to the idea of earned release for those offenders who make a commitment to serious educational activity, who show by their changed attitude that they wish to contribute to society and who work hard to acquire proper qualifications, which are externally validated and respected by employers’.

Mr Gove does not appear to endorse Mr Ford’s determination to exclude other offenders from the scheme, as it is likely to apply to most of the 86,000 prisoners serving fixed-term sentences. The scheme should encompass every prisoner within the system so that each can be judged on their individual merit, risk of reoffending, behaviour and compliance, instead of being brushed aside and labelled unworthy purely due to the ‘category’ of their conviction.

INSIDE TIMESa-signi-cant-paradigm-shift/

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