No judicial review of black cab rapist John Worboys case, Justice Secretary announces

Posted On: 
19th January 2018

The Government will not go ahead with a judicial review into the decision to release John Worboys because it has no "reasonable" chance of succeeding, David Gauke has announced. 

David Gauke addressing the House of Commons this morning
Credit: 
PA

The Justice Secretary said that although he shared the concerns of victims and the public about the case, his legal advisors had made clear a review would be unlikely to succeed.

However Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has launched his own legal proceedings to challenge the Parole Board's decision to release the rapist after just eight years in prison.

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Worboys, 60, was jailed in 2009 for 19 separate offences including rape and sexual assault. However police suspect he may have been responsible for dozens more attacks on women.

Victims of the former black cab driver have also begun their own crowdfunding campaign to launch their own legal challenge against the Board's decision. 

The head of the influential Home Affairs Select Committee, Yvette Cooper, hit out at today's announcement.

Setting out his own response this morning, Mr Gauke told MPs the "bar for a judicial review to succeed is very high". 

"The test for deciding if a decision is “unreasonable” is not simply that the decision-maker, in this case the Parole Board, could have taken an alternative decision, but that no reasonable person would have come to the same decision on the facts of the case," he said.

"Similarly, on procedure it would be necessary to identify a failing to follow that process by the Parole Board that would have had a material impact on the decision.  Having taken considered and expert legal advice I have decided that it would not be appropriate for me as Secretary of State to proceed with such a case." 

However he made clear that his decision did not stop victims bringing their own challenges against the Parole Board.

"I fully support the right of victims to take their own legal advice and to challenge the decision," Mr Gauke said.

"The approach I’m taking does not mean that others who may have significant interest in the case are precluded from taking action. Each case depends on the circumstances of each individual bringing a claim." 

EXPANDED REVIEW

He also raised the prospect of a new mechanism to allow Parole Board decisions to be reconsidered, "while retaining the independence of the decision-making process". 

It is one of the areas being considered in an expanded government review of parole decisions which Mr Gauke said would report "before Easter".