Former taxi driver John Worboys will not be released from prison, after the High Court quashed a decision by the Parole Board.
The black cab driver was convicted of the sexual assault of 12 women in 2009, although police now believe the real number of victims could be more than 100.
He received an indeterminate sentence, which required that he served at least eight years behind bars, with the judge describing this as “to all intents and purposes” a life sentence.
However, in January 2018 the Parole Board, the independent group which assesses whether prisoners can be safely released into the community, recommended he be released after just ten years. Following the High Court ruling, Chair of the board Nick Hardwick has resigned.
High Court Challenge
Protestors outside the High Court. Image Credit: Jem Collins / RightsInfo
After an initial backlash, the Parole Board had said their decision was “lawful and rational”, as well as based on appropriate evidence. However, two of the victims, backed by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan launched a legal challenge, in the form of a judicial review.
The group argued that the Parole Board had failed to consider “critical evidence” and ignored the “wider allegations” of his offending when it reached its decision.
I welcome the decision that John Worboys will not be released – this will give some reassurance to his victims and to all Londoners. It was important, as Mayor, to do all I could to help quash the Parole Board’s decision and help maintain confidence in the criminal justice system pic.twitter.com/KFPZGkJ4tK
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) March 28, 2018
The judicial review did not look at whether the original decision was right or not, but it looked at whether the proper processes were followed in reaching that decision. It also examined whether the Parole Board acted reasonably in making the decision, taking into account all relevant considerations.
In court, the women’s lawyer argued that the Board was wrong to decide that Worboys took “full responsibility for his crimes” and that they should have considered evidence of other allegations about his offending behaviour – not just the 12 assaults he was ultimately jailed for.
The case closely follows another legal challenge surrounding John Worboys. The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the Metropolitan Police in February, who had claimed they could not be held accountable under human rights law for failing to investigate the case properly.