Victims, members of the public and the media will be able to ask for a parole hearing to be heard in public for the first time, following law changes.
From 21 July 2022, anyone including prisoners, victims, members of the public or the media will be able to ask the Board to hold a hearing in public and the Chair of the Parole Board will decide whether it is in the interests of justice to do so.
Parole Board Rule 15(3) has been amended to remove the previous requirement that all parole hearings must be heard in private. This will enable the Board to consider whether some hearings should be heard in public in some limited circumstances.
These decisions will consider the welfare and interest of victims and reach a conclusion based on the ‘interests of justice’. This move follows calls for greater transparency after the decision to release black cab rapist John Worboys in 2018.
As to how many hearings are likely to be heard in public, the government has made this observation:
“Because of the sensitive nature of what is discussed, including offenders’ medical information and graphic accounts of their crimes, and the need to protect victims’ privacy it is expected that most hearings would not meet this test.”
Rule 24 provides powers for the panel chair to exclude any person from a hearing in the circumstances prescribed by the rule to facilitate the management and conduct of public hearings.
The wording of these rules has been drawn from those which already exist for the First Tier Tribunal (Mental Health).
How can we help?
We ensure we keep up to date with any changes in legislation and case law so that we are always best placed to advise you properly. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact our team of criminal defence specialists on: 01376 511819