Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Hardwick Made to Carry the Can

"Professor Nick Hardwick has been a principled and honourable public servant who has made a massive public contribution...founding Centrepoint homeless charity, running the Refugee Council, Chief Inspector of Prisons, and chairing Parole Board...wrong to end this way.." Alan Travis on twitter 
The Worboys case has been a mess right from the beginning, but the Parole Board Chairman has been forced to resign. This from the Telegraph:- 

John Worboys to stay in prison: Parole Board boss Nick Hardwick 'forced to resign' as taxi rapist's release blocked

John Worboys will remain behind bars after two of his victims won a landmark court case to overturn the Parole Board’s controversial decision to release the black cab rapist. The chairman of the Parole Board, Nick Hardwick, is understood to have been forced to resign ahead of the High Court ruling.

Three judges in London said on Wednesday that the Parole Board must make a "fresh determination" in the case of the 60-year-old serial sex attacker. Sir Brian Leveson, Mr Justice Jay and Mr Justice Garnham said the board should have "undertaken further inquiry into the circumstances of his offending". The judges announced that, in the light of their findings, the "release decision will be quashed" and the case "remitted to the Parole Board for fresh determination before a differently constituted panel".

David Gauke, the Justice Secretary, welcomed the resignation of Mr Hardwick, saying it was "the correct decision in light of the serious failings outlined in today's judgment".

Lawyers for the two women who brought the challenge argued during a hearing earlier this month that the Parole Board's decision to release Worboys, who now goes under the name of John Radford, was "irrational" and should be overturned. At the conclusion of the hearing on March 14 the judges continued a temporary bar preventing Worboys' release, which was originally granted in January. Worboys has served 10 years, including remand time, of an indeterminate prison sentence.

Justice Secretary: Parole Board boss was right to quit

In a statement, Justice Secretary David Gauke said: "I accept Professor Hardwick's resignation and believe this is the correct decision in light of the serious failings outlined in today's judgment. I would also like to express my appreciation for his committed service to the Board and the contribution he has made to my department's review of parole processes. It is crucial the Parole Board now takes all necessary measures to ensure that public confidence is maintained in its decision-making processes. I look forward to working closely with the new leadership team to see through these vital changes."

Worboys was jailed indefinitely in 2009 with a minimum term of eight years after being found guilty of 19 offences, including rape, sexual assault and drugging, committed against 12 victims. He became known as the black cab rapist after attacking victims in his hackney carriage. Police believe he committed crimes against 105 women between 2002 and 2008, when he was caught.

The two victims who brought the case believe something went "badly wrong" with the Parole Board's decision to free Worboys. They say the Parole Board should have taken into account "critical evidence" of the "wider allegations" against Worboys. The judges heard that Worboys, who has served 10 years behind bars, including remand time, has denied committing any offences other than those for which he was convicted. The Parole Board argued that its decision was "lawful and and rational" and was based on appropriate evidence.


Explanatory note in the Worboys case (R (DSD & NBV; the Mayor of London; and News Groups Newspapers Ltd) v The Parole Board of England and Wales; the Secretary of State for Justice; and John Radford (formerly John Worboys) (Interested Party) 

The Divisional Court handed down judgment in this case today. The Claimants were represented by Phillippa Kaufmann QC and Nick Armstrong for DSD and NBV; Dan Squires QC and Sarah Hannett for the Mayor of London; and Gavin Millar QC and Aidan Wills for News Group Newspapers Ltd (all of Matrix Chambers). 

What did the Court decide? 

The Court is quashing the decision to release Mr Radford, and remitting his case back to the Parole Board for fresh determination. The Court decided that on the information before the Board at the time of its decision on Boxing Day 2017, there was “considerable force” in the criticisms of the decision which DSD and NBV advanced (see §123 – 127 of the judgment), and in particular about the failure to probe Mr Radford further about the account he had given of his offending (§132). However on the high standard required by the law in these cases, the decision to direct Mr Radford’s release was not irrational. 

The Court found, however, that it had been irrational of the Board not to have undertaken further inquiry of various matters, including (but not limited to) evidence of Mr Radford’s wider offending (§159). It said that material would have provided a sound platform for testing and probing Mr Radford’s account (§161) and was so obviously material that it would have had to have been considered (§163). 

The Court also held that Rule 25(1) of the Parole Board Rules 2016, which prohibit any information about parole proceedings being made public, goes too far and is therefore unlawful (§199). 

What will happen now? 

Subject to any appeal and further order, Mr Radford will remain detained, and the Parole Board will reconsider whether he is safe to be released. The new Board will have to consider the Court’s judgment; make or instigate further inquiries about a number of matters including the evidence of Mr Radford’s wider offending; consider how that material can fairly be deployed at a future hearing; and then reassess his risk. 

The Court has also said that the new Board should include someone with judicial experience (§164 and 202). There was no judicial chair on the last occasion and although there was a lawyer on the panel it is not clear whether that person had judicial experience.

Again subject to any appeal, Rule 25(1) of the Parole Board Rules will have to be amended, permitting at least some information about some parole proceedings to be made public. The precise scope of that new rule will be for the Secretary of State and ultimately Parliament. 

What are the wider implications of the judgment? 

The Court has been careful to emphasise that this was an exceptional case. It is not, therefore, opening any floodgates to challenges by victims of Parole Board decisions, nor to the routine admission of evidence of offences of which prisoners have not been convicted. 

The exceptional features of this case include: 

1. The fact that the CPS decided to charge Mr Radford on a sample offence basis (it should be noted that there was a late suggestion, in a CPS press statement dated 5 January 2018, that offences were not charged because they did not reach the evidential threshold. However that was not what the contemporaneous evidence said, nor what DSD in particular had been told. The Court accepted that at §57, and expressed doubt about the 5 January 2018 press statement at §58. How that press statement came to be written is of some concern to DSD). 

2. The fact that there is and was, nevertheless, very powerful evidence and indicators in support of Mr Radford having offended much more widely. This included the underlying evidence itself (which the Court heard in some detail) but also: 

a. The High Court having found as a fact, in litigation against the police which found they had failed properly to investigate the offences, that much wider offending had occurred. 

b. The fact that Mr Radford himself had settled eleven civil actions against him for a total of £241,000. The Court recognised that Mr Radford had not been a party to the proceedings against the police, and that he had settled the actions against him without an admission of liability. But it also said, with regard to the £241,000 settlement, and in what may be thought to be a good example of judicial understatement, that “bearing in mind the size of the payment, such answers should have generated a modicum of scepticism in the minds of a forensically astute panel” (§61). 

3. The fact that the Parole Board in this case placed so much emphasis on Mr Radford having now accepted “full responsibility for [his] offending”, and his “openness and honesty”, when there was significant evidence available which pointed the other way. 

4. The fact that this was a case where impression management, and manipulation, were specific issues, and risk factors, and yet the possibility that “Mr Radford has provided what may be described as a carefully calibrated account, steering adroitly between admitting too much and too little, rather than one that is entirely open and forthcoming” (§127) had not been probed before the Board. 

Another exceptional feature of this case was the public interest in it, which amongst other things, meant that DSD and NBV could successfully crowd fund to cover their costs (including their potential costs liability to Mr Radford should they have lost). DSD and NBV would like to repeat their particular gratitude to all those who contributed to the crowd fund.

The result is that should there be further claims of this kind, or attempts to deploy before the Parole Board extensive sub-conviction information, then they will likely be met by an argument that this case should be distinguished. The material in this case was readily available, the Board had been told of its existence, and it was particularly powerful. Those circumstances are quite unique. 

It is also unlikely that the ruling on Rule 25 of the Parole Board Rules will lead to a great deal of further information about the parole process. In some cases, however, there will be more information, at least in gist form, and the Parole Board itself has said it would like the facility to say more about its decisions. Such transparency is of course the fundamental guarantor of accountability, and by extension, of good quality decision making. 

That is a further feature of this case and, it may be hoped, a key wider implication of the judgment. Decisions about the release of long term prisoners are difficult. Forensic psychology is not an exact science. Understanding of offending behaviour and what causes and reduces it is developing, and sometimes that understanding can be counter intuitive. However victims, prisoners, and the wider public are all entitled to good quality decision making. In that context we would echo the Court’s suggestion that it is surprising that the Parole Board did not, in a case like this, have a judicial chair. We would add that it is surprising, in fact, that it did not have a High Court judge in the chair. It is equally surprising that the Secretary of State was not represented by counsel, who might have ensured that all relevant lines of inquiry were flagged to the Board. Both of us – the barristers for DSD and NBV – have long experience of appearing before the Parole Board. Not so many years ago a case like this would have had both a senior judge in the chair, and counsel for the Secretary of State. The fact that all this happened in a case of this size suggests that there are real issues about the proper resourcing of the Board, which remains a fundamental bulwark of the rule of law. 

There is also a further lesson, which is about police investigation, and charging. The CPS may wish to consider, once again, its decision not to prosecute in the case of DSD, and in other cases. 



  1. Parole Board chairman Nick Hardwick's resignation letter, dated 27 March, to Justice Secretary David Gauke, in full.

    Dear Secretary of State,

    We met this afternoon to consider the implications of the judgment in the Worboys' case.

    I want to repeat my admiration for the courage and tenacity of the women who brought the judicial review. Their success will have consequences that go far beyond this individual case and will benefit victims and the administration of justice for years to come.

    I am very pleased that the court declared the Rule that prohibits the Parole Board from explaining its decisions should go and that the judgment recognised that this was something I had been calling for.

    I am pleased too that as a result of Dame Glenys Stacy's investigation into victim communication in the case, these processes will be improved in future and that she made no criticism of the Parole Board's actions in this matter.

    I am also confident that as a result of this case a much simpler system for reviewing Parole Board decisions will be established and, as I have already made clear in my submission to you, this is something I would very much welcome.

    Consistent with these principles, I have been clear throughout the legal processes that followed the decision in the Worboys' case that I welcomed the scrutiny to which it was subject.

    I instructed that there should be no procedural moves to prevent such scrutiny, as the judgment indicated could have been made, and that our disclosure of material relating to the case should be as full as possible.

    I am as anxious as everyone else that the correct decision should be made.

    The court was critical of some aspects of the panel's decision-making processes although it did not overturn the panel's decisions on these grounds.

    It could not, no more than you or I, put itself in the place of the expert and experienced panel members who heard the evidence and made the decision.

    The court did however find that the panel's understanding that it could not go beyond the offences for which Worboys was convicted was mistaken in this "difficult, troubling case with many exceptional features".

    I shared the panel's misapprehension in this matter and this was supported by the advice I received. We were wrong.

    You told me that you thought my position was untenable.

    I had no role in the decision of the panel in the case and believe I am capable of leading the Parole Board through the changes, many of which I have advocated, that will now be necessary.

    I am sorry for the mistakes that were made in this case but I have always made it clear that I will support the members and staff of the Board in the very difficult individual decisions they make and I will accept accountability for the work of the Board.

    I will not pass the buck to those who work under me. In these circumstances I inform you of my decision to resign with immediate effect.

    In conclusion, I want to state my concern about the independence of the Board.

    I believe this matter raises very troubling questions about how the Board's independence can be safeguarded.

    I hope Parliament will consider what structural changes are necessary to ensure this independence is protected in future.

    Nick Hardwick
    Chairman, the Parole Board for England and Wales

  2. This I think is only the beginning of a long line of legal challenges. Its right to describe the case as a mess from the start, but I feel its been resolved in a very disturbing way. Not least because Worboys was never charged or convicted for anything against one of the appellants taking the case against him in the capacity of a victim.
    I have no doubt that she was one of Warboys many victims that didn't see their day in court and feels cheated by the justice system, but I personally feel very uncomfortable with the idea that someone that you've never been charged with an offence against can bring a legal challenge to prevent your release under the banner of a victim.
    That just opens up a legal quagmire.
    Another uncomfortable aspect is what the parole board was told that they should consider.
    "the Parole Board should have taken into account "critical evidence" of the "wider allegations" against Worboys."
    I think the parole board have a duty to consider a persons offending in a wider context then just the things they're charged with, but it's not the parole boards duty to determine guilt. That should, and always be the function of the courts. Move away from that and justice moves to a dangerous place.
    If anything Worboys should have been charged with further offences, and the police and prosecution services being the ones to deal with the fall out that would have brought.
    I have much sympathy with Nick Hardwick, I think he's an honest, committed and honerable person, and his demise is really come about by politicians pandering to media pressure.
    I don't care about Worboys, he can stay locked up, but I do care about the justice system and how some decisions it makes can have very damaging consequences in unintended ways.
    I'm saddened Hardwick has been forced out, and saddened too that the decision taken today by the courts seems more to do with media led hysteria, and not the rule of law.


  3. It must be clear, that most prolific offenders convictions are very likely to be less than the number of offences they have committed and, therefore, the number of victims. The case surely has ramifications throughout the system given the precedent set. Scrutiny of Parole board decisions in respect of cases such as Worboys is one possibility, belt and braces approach?

  4. Well if the Parole Board had listened to the Probation Officer at the hearing who told them “do not release” Nick wouldn’t be joining the unemployment queue. The Parole Board were never independent and only released Worboys because of government pressure to release IPP prisoners- oh how that has backfired! I’m sure it won’t be all doom and gloom for Nick, after all his costing up to David Gauke and Dame Glenys Stacey he’ll probably be handed a job with the MoJ or HMIP and made a fellow of the Probation Institute.

    1. According to the news at one, Hardwick has been scapegoated by Gauke.
      Apparently the MoJ failed to include important information relevent to Worboys case in the dossier given to the parole board.
      Gauke is also being criticised over rule 25, the blanket ban on disclosing information on decisions they reach.
      Rule 25 is something the MoJ imposed not the parole board.
      Gauke makes a statement in the house on the matter shortly.

    2. If there's a mechanism for the MOJ to add material to a parole dossier I don't know what it is. Typically documents are requested by the parole board or we can ask for them.

  5. Typicla bloody politicians to look around and find a scapegoat for their own failures. I only met Nick Hardwicke once at HMP Bronzefield when he led the team doing an inspection in 2010. I talked to him about whether there was anything the inspectors could do to assist a mentally ill prisoner who was being bullied by one of the officers. He said he couldn't take up the case of individual prisoners but when I got back to the wing, I discovered that he had immediately left education, gone over to the wing and had a half hour long conversation with the prisoner followed by a conversation with the staff on duty on the wing that day which included the officer conducting the bullying although Mr Hardwicke was very careful not to point fingers. The officer never again bullied that particular prisoner. I met him again in 2013 at Downview when he and his team conducted a surprise inspection. On both occasions I was thoroughly impressed by his professionalism, care and standards. He made an excellent head of parole bringing the same qualities to that role as he did as Chief Inspector of Prisons. Gauke clearly looked around for a scapegoat and Hardwicke was the most obvious choice (after all how often do you see a Minister willingly fall on his or her sword?). Granted Gauke wasn't in charge when Worboys was convicted and has no culpability for anything that has happened since but Gauke should not have sacked Nick Hardwicke because that's exactly what he did in practice.


    1. David Gauke, the Justice Secretary, is facing calls to quit from fellow Tory MPs after being branded "weak and pathetic" over the John Worboys case.

      After two of Worboys' victims won a landmark case to overturn a controversial decision to release the black cab rapist, prompting the resignation of Parole Board chairman Nick Hardwick, Mr Gauke was being urged to consider his position.

      Three High Court judges in London said on Wednesday that the Parole Board must make a "fresh determination" in the case of the 60-year-old serial sex attacker.

      Sir Brian Leveson, Mr Justice Jay and Mr Justice Garnham said the board should have "undertaken further inquiry into the circumstances of his offending".

      One Tory MP said that Mr Gauke should consider his position. The MP said: "He f----- up, he could not have f----- up more.

      "He showed no leadership at all, he allowed himself to be rolled by officials. He is fighting for his future, he has to take responsibility and consider his position. He was weak and pathetic. It's all very well to sack Nick Hardwick, but he himself has to take responsibility."

      Friends of Mr Gauke insisted that he will not resign over the case. Making a statement in the Commons, Mr Gauke said it was clear that there was "widespread concern" about the Parole Board's decision and that he shared the concerns and welcomed the judgment.

      Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond Park, was highly critical of the government over Worboys.

      He said: "The victims should never have had to relive their ordeals in order to secure justice. There is no escaping the fact that the Criminal Justice system failed them, or that the Government failed to show leadership."

      Lawyers for the two women who brought the challenge said Mr Gauke "bears some responsibility" for the failings made in the Worboys case.

      Speaking after the ruling, Phillippa Kaufmann QC said it was the Ministry of Justice which was responsible for putting the dossier of evidence before the Parole Board for it to make its decision regarding his release.

      She also said it was "disappointing" that Mr Hardwick appeared to have been made a "scapegoat", when there was a "systemic failure".

      Prime Minister Theresa May said the decision to quash the release gives rise to "serious concerns", as she praised the "brave" victims who brought the legal action.

  7. One Tory MP said that Mr Gauke should consider his position. The MP said: "He f----- up, he could not have f----- up more.

    "He showed no leadership at all, he allowed himself to be rolled by officials. He is fighting for his future, he has to take responsibility and consider his position. He was weak and pathetic. It's all very well to sack Nick Hardwick, but he himself has to take responsibility."

    Perhaps the same Tory MP should direct his cabinet colleagues to inspect the management of the probation service . Weak and pathetic sums them up to a ‘T’
    Showed no leadership and allowed themselves to be rolled by officials surely sums up the relationship between probation managers and HMPPS.
    I have deliberately referred to them as managers and not leaders. They couldn’t lead a conga on the dancefloor

  8. If Nick Hardwick has to resign as head of the Parole Board then Sonia Crozier should resign as head of the Probation Service. If they have to resign then so should David Gauke. All “weak and pathetic”.

    1. And how has Spurr gotten away with it time & time & time again?

  9. Whilst we're surrounded by useless fuckers, its perhaps worth taking time to listen on Sunday (or via any of the listen again options) to R4 The Reunion - The Battle for Basra:

    "Joining Sue to discuss the invasion and the subsequent difficulties are:
    Lt General Robin Brims who masterminded the land operation,
    Lt Gen Sir James Dutton who led the British Marines and also commanded US marines,
    Major General Graham Binns who headed the powerful 7th (UK) Armoured Brigade,
    the BBC's former defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt who was embedded with British troops,
    and Rory Stewart MP who was just 30 when he took on the role as a Coalition deputy Governor in Southern Iraq."

    It might do Rory some good to give it a listen again as well because he was a strong voice for reason back then... he's become a tad too 'on message Tory' of late in his MoJ Ministerial role.

    Go on, boy, dust off those Kandahar cahonas and go for the Justice Sec role, cos Gawke's only the latest in a roll call of losers since King Kenny.

  10. Simple solution (?) to cases like Worboys'... give Parole Board a budget to access independent specialists, e.g. psychiatrists, psychologists. Their 3rd party objective views can be weighed against the inevitable subjectivity of supervising staff, prison staff, programmes' staff, reports commissioned by prisoner's legal team.

    Hmm, wonder who was REALLY behind the cutting of Nick Hardwick's throat today?

    Independent, Jan 2016: "Nick Hardwick: Prisons inspector steps down with attack on Chris Grayling for trying to influence his work... he revealed that the former Justice Secretary Chris Grayling had “robustly” tried to influence his reports despite his supposed independence from the Government."

    Grayling never forgets...

    1. How many Govt heads would open an interview like this (from jan 2016):

      Prison UK: Thank you for agreeing to speak to me and to the readers of this blog about your work as Chief Inspector.

      Nick H: I think yours is one of the best blogs – and the most insightful – about prison life. It’s something I’ve turned to for information and perspectives. I know a lot of people read it, so I thought it would be a good way of communicating.

      No wonder the Tory mafia wanted him out of the picture.

    2. It would help if the obligatory MoJ/SoS representative actually attended the Hearings!

  11. When Gauke gave his statement on Warboys today he said that the NPS was responsible for not including all the relevent information in the dossier that was presented to the parole board on behalf of the state.

    1. £13,000 + £27,000 = £40,000

      When Gauke made a massive profit on one of his homes, bought with taxpayer-funded expenses, he carefully stage-managed the IPSA rules enabling him to pocket £27K of the full £67K:

      "Under the changes, MPs are no longer allowed to claim mortgage interest on their second homes to stop them amassing nest eggs at the taxpayers’ expense. They are able to claim only for rent.

      MPs were given two years to organise their finances before the new rules came into force.

      If MPs continued to claim mortgage interest on their expenses they would be assessed on the capital gain on the home in those two years and Ipsa would determine the amount they would be required to pay back.

      Mr Gauke bought his Kennington flat in 2007 for £285,000. Between March 2010 and June 2012 he claimed more than £13,000 in mortgage interest, with the typical monthly repayment being just over £500.

      Mr Gauke’s main home is in Chorleywood, Herts, which is only a 45-minute commute to London. Land registry documents show that he sold his London flat in August for £352,500, leading to a total profit of £67,500..."

      Tory Spokesperson response: “David Gauke has abided by the rules on MPs’ expenses at all times, including repaying capital gains made in the current Parliament.” (Telegraph, 2012)

    2. Pissed off that people are saying the MOJ failed to add significant documents to the dossier; no, the parole panel failed to apply forensic scrutiny and ask for that documentation. MOJ doesnt contribute to parole processes, probation officers do though, despite not being legally qualified, in a quasi judicial setting and often in opposition to experienced legal professionals. If the MOJ want to start providing solicitors routinely in parole hearings, that'd be fine too.

    3. If the documentation missing from the dossier was significant enough that the parole board failed in its forensic scrutiny by not requesting it, shouldn't it have been important enough to be included in the dossier by those that compiled it?
      Can't ask for something if you don't know it exists.

    4. @anon 23:08
      Who do you think compiles a dossier? It's prison admin on 17k salaries, then a governor signs it off. Probation staff might provide reports but aren't responsible for the overall contents. What it contains is routinely shaped by the parole board itself, who would have known of the existence of all the documentation described as absent from the dossier in today's judgement.

    5. You’re talking out of your backside. The responsibility of probation is to provide a parole report not an entire dossier. The parole dossier responsibility is with the 1. prison parole clerk who compiles it, 2. parole board case manager and 3. public protection & pre-release sections in the MoJ. The latter two make decisions and directions about what information they want, and who from.

      Read the judgement. The parole board were sloppy and released against recommendations of most professionals involved. “The Parole Board ought to have carried out, or have instigated the carrying out of, further inquiry”. The dossier included details of 80+ victims”. Of the 12 Worboys was convicted of he minimised his offending and recently admitted guilt. The parole board did not have police and cps documents on the index offences to challenge Worboys with. Nor sentencing comments. They did have a probation pre-sentence report, a psychiatric report identifying him as a high, continuing and significant risk. The parole report by probation and the psychological report did not recommend release. These would have detailed Worboys offending. In 2017 new psychological assessments recommended release, one arranged by Worboys legal team - no surprise. Both probation officer and prison psychologist objected to these recommendations and stated he should not be released. The judgement summary is clear details of Worboys 80+ victims were contained in these reports and objections. The parole board could not say they were unaware. From the detail they were aware and should not have been granted release. Would it have been different if the parole board hadn’t been under pressure to release IPP prisoners?

      The MoJ public protection & pre release sections should have scrutinised the release decision, and the Justice Secretary could have stepped in any time. Instead it took a news campaign and a crowdfunded prosecution by victims to stop him being released. The buck should stop at the door of David Gauke, Justice Secretary. This is why Nick Hardwick has been scapegoated to take the heat off the MoJ and Gauke.

    6. PPCS? never seen them do anything constructive to contribute to a parole dossier without direction from parole board. Never seen evidence of them giving critical consideration to the content of a dossier at all.

  12. Let’s not forget Worboys legal team are the ones that argued for his release and arranged for a forensic psychologist to recommend his release. It is a sign of our corrupt system that a solicitor was able to financially profit by presenting Worboys lies, and paid handsomely for securing his release to rape more women. The parole board should have listened to probation and other professionals that said he should not be released. That panel should be investigated. The MoJ and Gauke should have stepped in to determine why the parole board did not listen to probation and other professionals. The MoJ and Gauke should be investigated.

    I’m waiting for NPS Sonia Crozier to tell Gauke to stop blaming “HM Prison and Probation Service” for the dossier, but she’ll probably apologise instead.

  13. Just because its interesting.