Davenport v The Parole Board of England and Wales, Court of Appeal - Administrative Court, March 02, 2018, [2018] EWHC 410 (Admin)

Resolution Date:March 02, 2018
Issuing Organization:Administrative Court
Actores:Davenport v The Parole Board of England and Wales
 
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Case No: CO/5331/2017

Neutral Citation Number: [2018] EWHC 410 (Admin)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

ADMINISTRATIVE COURT

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 2 March 2018

Before :

MR JUSTICE WALKER

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Between :

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Mr Richard Reynolds (instructed by Bhatt Murphy Ltd.) for the claimant

There was no appearance for the defendant

Hearing date: 28 February 2018

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JUDGMENTMR JUSTICE WALKER:

  1. Introduction

    1. This claim for judicial review concerns a decision of the Parole Board for England and Wales (``the Board'') dated 16 August 2017. The decision followed an oral hearing before a panel of the Board on 15 August 2017. At that time, the claimant was almost 16 years past his 15-year minimum term for a murder he committed in 1986. The main ground for seeking judicial review concerns an allegedly unlawful approach adopted by the panel when considering the circumstances leading to the claimant's recall on 13 January 2017 from a period on licence. In the present judgment, however, I am principally concerned with the question whether the Secretary of State for Justice should have been named as an interested party in these proceedings.

    2. The claimant's application for permission to proceed came before Mr Philip Mott QC, sitting as a deputy High Court judge, for consideration on the papers. By an order dated 12 December 2017 he granted permission to proceed on the main issue identified above, along with two other grounds which criticised the reasoning of the panel when concluding that release should be refused. A further ground, which complained of the panel's decision not to recommend the claimant's transfer to open conditions, was rejected.

    3. In his order (``the permission order'') Mr Mott QC made observations which included the following:

    4. The claimant has had a chequered career in custody, but on 20 June 2016 he was released on licence from his life sentence. That release was ended when his licence was revoked on 13 January 2017. Since then he has been held in closed conditions.

    5. The immediate trigger for his recall was a complaint by a female occupant of the accommodation where he lived, which led to charges of harassment being brought against the claimant. Following the recall, those charges were dismissed by a Magistrates' Court on 27 February 2017.

    6. The failure to prove charges to the criminal standard does not in any way prevent the allegations being taken into consideration at a subsequent Parole Board hearing. The issues and the standard of proof are different. But if the Board feels able to rely on part of the complaint (as it expressly did here), it is at least arguable that there should be a careful analysis of the material submitted, and that the claimant is entitled to know what parts of the allegations were accepted by the Board, and why. In this decision there appears to be no analysis of the evidence, nor specific findings related to the issues and standard of proof applicable to that hearing.

    7. In addition, the finding that the claimant has ``an inability to identify and maintain appropriate interpersonal social boundaries'' does not automatically lead to the conclusion that he poses ``a high risk of serious harm to members of the public and to known adults''. It does not appear that the decision explains this step.

    8. All this means that the decision may be reviewable for lack of reasons. It does not mean that the conclusion is wrong or irrational. This does not seem to be a case which clearly pointed to release. If the conclusion was rational (and sufficiently explained), I see little prospect of arguing successfully that the...

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