QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF|
|COLIN ERIC KITTO||(CLAIMANT)|
|(1) THE PAROLE BOARD|
|(2) THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT||(DEFENDANTS)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MISS KRISTINA STERN appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
Crown Copyright ©
Wednesday, 12th November 2003
"In deciding whether or not to recommend release on license, the Parole Board shall consider primarily the risk to the public of a further offence being committed at a time when the prisoner would otherwise be in prison and whether any such risk is acceptable. This must be balanced against the benefit, both to the public and the offender, of early release back into the community under a degree of supervision which might help rehabilitation and so lessen the risk of re-offending in the future. The Board shall take into account that safeguarding the public may often outweigh the benefits to the offender of early release."
"It is accepted that the court may receive additional material to elaborate and expand the reasons given in a decision letter such as this, but the reasons for caution are obvious. The purpose of the letter, where parole is to be refused, is to explain why the prisoner's application has been unsuccessful, a matter of great moment to him. He wants to know the basis of the adverse decision and should be told it in the decision letter. Such letters are not to be construed in a pedantic and nit-picking spirit, and the court should be careful not to seize on occasional omissions and infelicities in such letters as a ground for granting judicial review. The prisoner is however entitled to an intelligible summary of the Board's reasoning, enough to show him that his application has been fairly considered and explain to him why the decision has gone against him."
"Mr Kitto has attempted to use this period of imprisonment constructively. He has worked hard and has gained educational qualifications. He completed an Enhanced Thinking Skills course. Low post-course ratings indicated that there was much work still to do in the areas of impulse control, anger management and social skills. He joined a therapeutic community at HMP Grendon in October 2001. Mr Kitto has clearly benefited from the therapeutic input. The Panel notes that recently his risk has been reduced to a D category prisoner and there have been no breaches of trust. When first in prison he was easily provoked and extremely aggressive and had several adjudications, including one for assaulting a prison officer. There has been no recent violence and all drug tests have proved negative. However, he still appears to have some problems with authority figures and has been threatening and controlling. Mr Kitto's excessive alcohol use is an outstanding problem and he has made contact with an alcohol counsellor and an alcohol project that can offer support and advice on release.
"Mr Kitto initially plans to live with his mother on release and then attend the university degree course. The probation reports support parole, particularly as the timing would allow him to re-establish himself in the community before going to university. The Board has some concerns about this plan. Firstly, during therapy Mr Kitto has unlocked painful memories of his childhood, therefore returning to live with his mother, who played a key role in his young life, would seem inappropriate at this difficult time. Secondly, Mr Kitto's university place is conditional on forthcoming exam results. Mr Kitto needs to have a contingency plan in place to cope with failure, especially as rejection has been a trigger for offending behaviour in the past. A psychology report highlights the risk of relapse if family support, alcohol counselling and probation contact are not effective. The Board acknowledges that Mr Kitto has made significant progress, particularly at HMP Grendon, but against this must be weighed (a) the seriousness of the index offence with its potential to endanger life, (b) Mr Kitto's record of violent and destructive offending, (c) evidence of continuing inappropriate attitudes and behaviours. After carefully considering these factors, the Board considers that risk remains, particularly a serious risk of harm, therefore parole is refused. Mr Kitto's ability to control his use of alcohol in the community is as yet untested. Therefore an appropriate license condition is imposed."
"Secondly, Mr Kitto's university place is conditional on forthcoming exam results. Mr Kitto needs to have a contingency plan in place to cope with failure, especially as rejection has been a trigger for offending behaviour in the past. A psychology report highlights the risk of relapse if family support, alcohol counselling and probation contact are not effective."
"Firstly, during therapy Mr Kitto has unlocked painful memories of his childhood, therefore returning to live with his mother, who played a key role in his young life, would seem inappropriate at this difficult time."