COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)
ON APPEAL FROM HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
HHJ PELLING QC
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF ALAN CHATER
|- and -
SECRETARY OF STATE FOR JUSTICE
The respondent and the interested party were not represented
Hearing date: 16th March 2011
Crown Copyright ©
Lord Justice Hooper :
The claimant has a long history of sexual offending against children. Although the history is set out in the documentation it is not necessary to dwell on it in detail, because it is not relevant to the issues that I have to resolve in relation to this application. In 2001 the claimant was sentenced to five years' imprisonment with an extended licence period of three years, and in 2004 the claimant was sentenced to four years' imprisonment with an extended licence period of five years. On 14 March 2007 the claimant was released on extended licence conditions as contemplated by the  original sentence.
The panel is however obliged to consider your present risk to the public and whether it would now be appropriate to release you. In this context the panel noted that you were automatically released at NPD. You had completed the SOTP but your progress was poor and hampered by your traumatic experiences of childhood abuse. Your risk remains largely untreated and both your static and dynamic risk is assessed as high or very high. Released at NPD, you were not subject to a pre-release risk assessment. You are a MAPPA level 3 prisoner, who in the opinion of MAPPA and the probation service cannot be safely managed in the community without further intervention whilst you are in custody. For all these reasons the panel is unable to direct your immediate release.
The panel has carefully considered all the reports before it. Mr Chater has a pattern of apparently entrenched sexual offending. He has a history of other offending and breach of trust. The panel has been driven to the conclusion that Mr Chater's risk to the public and to children in particular remains undiminished. It is essentially the same as when he was automatically released on non-parole licence. Only recently his risk of serious harm to children was formally assessed as very high. This is confirmed by his probation officers. Despite completing some offence related work in 2002 he has much to do to reduce his risk to an acceptable level and there would now seem, albeit belatedly, some opportunity for him to do so. Until this is achieved Mr Chater will continue to pose a very high risk. In the panel's judgment the risk is plainly not manageable in the community at the present time. Parole is refused and Mr Chater will have another review in 12 months time.
Nothing altered throughout the period of his sentence until he was released, and therefore and in those circumstances, it having been concluded that his recall was inappropriate, it was wrong to continue to detain the claimant, because the claimant was no greater, or possibly no lesser, risk than he had been at any stage. Thus the relevant test could not be satisfied, and the only conclusion that could safely be reached was that the Parole Board had approached the case on the wrong basis and the decision ought to be quashed.
... it seems to me that it was open to the Parole Board to reach the conclusions it did by reference to the additional material referred to in paragraph 2 and referred to also in paragraph 7 of the report.