QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
(Sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF HALL||(CLAIMANT)|
|FIRST SECRETARY OF STATE||(DEFENDANT)|
Smith Bernal Reporting Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MR P PATEL (instructed by Treasury Solicitors) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
Crown Copyright ©
1. The criteria for the review of the decision of the Secretary of State.
2. The procedure followed by the Secretary of State, in particular his decision not to remit the matter to the Parole Board in 2005.
3. The rationality of the decisions to refuse a transfer to open conditions.
4. Whether the application for judicial review is academic.
"The Secretary of State has noted, in addition to the papers considered by the Parole Board, the comments of the panel in reaching their decision. He notes that the Panel accepts that you present an unacceptable risk for release but that you should be transferred to open conditions. Although the majority of the report writers do not support your progression to open conditions, the Secretary of State notes the view of your External Probation Officer who considers that it would be the appropriate to test your risk in semi-open conditions and allow for monitoring of your relationship with S.
However, since the last Parole Board review of your case [that is the review in 2002], the Secretary of State is aware you have not sought to address areas of identified risk in your case and that concerns have been expressed by staff with regard to your risk of sexual reoffending, attitude towards women, relationships and fantasies. You have failed to engage in any relevant work to address these risk areas and there are outstanding treatment needs arising out of your lack of insight into your offending which need to be addressed before you could safely transfer to open conditions. In particular, you would benefit from undertaking motivational work to assist in your progression towards eventual release and be assessed for cognitive behavioural programmes such as the Enhanced Thinking Skills programme. You also need to undertake work to explore your sexual offending and fantasies and develope appropriate relapse prevention strategies. As a matter of course, an in-depth psychological assessment should be made available to the next panel.
For all the reasons outlined above, the Secretary of State is not prepared to accept the Parole Board's advice that you be transferred to open conditions."
"In August 2004 the Secretary of State noted that your behaviour was good and that you derived benefit from the support of [S]. However, the Secretary of State also noted that the identified areas of concern: the risk of sexual reoffending; attitudes towards women; relationships; fantasies and lack of insight into his offending, highlighted at your previous review, remained un-addressed. The Secretary of State is concerned that some 12 months later the work to reduce those risk areas still remains outstanding. He notes that you would benefit from undertaking motivational work to assist your progress towards release or open conditions, assessment for cognitive behavioural programmes and exploration of your sexual offending and fantasies.
The Secretary of State is also aware of concerns regarding your attitude and behaviour towards women and children in particular, which was the subject of additional material disclosed by the Secretary of State and your recent representations.
The Secretary of State notes that you assert that you were not identified as meeting the criteria of Chapter 1 of PSO 4400 [that is the Home Office guideline which contains restrictions on contacts between prisoners and young persons] until after you had been at the establishment for nine months (ie Febraury 2004). However, paperwork covering this was completed on 23rd May 2003, just days after your reception. On 23rd May 2003, you also signed that you required no visits from children and provided 20 telephone contact numbers, under strong protest, on 24th May 2003. Further, there are entries in the material which post-date February 2004 (ie after the date on which, by your own admission, you were aware that you met the criteria in Chapter 1 of PS0 4400) [this also postdates the Parole Board decision]. In addition, the Secretary of State notes that in the recent representations made on your behalf by your solicitors ... it is suggested that [S] has 'spent an enormous amount of time over the last two years contacting the Prison Governor ... to try and receive some clarification as to the criteria'. It would seem odd for her to go to that effort if you were unaware that you had been identified as meeting the criteria. It is therefore the view of the Secretary of State that you were aware of the restrictions in PSO 4400 at the time during which these matters, which are referred to in the additional material, took place.
Furthermore, it is of concern that you have written to women other than [S] expressing a desire on your release to go and live with them and to take care of them and their children. The Secretary of State notes your explanation that these expressions are 'jokes' made during telephone conversations with long-term friends and are made to cheer up the individuals concerned. The Secretary of State does not accept the explanation. It is clear that you have expressed such desires in letters, which you have written to such individuals. Further, there is no indication in the material that the references made are 'jokes'. This is concerning material as it was part of your representations seeking your release and/or a move to open conditions that the structure and support which [S] would provide on release would reduce your risk to an acceptable level.
The Secretary of State notes your other explanations. He is not in a position to accept or dispute them at this time.
Nevertheless, given the matters set out above, the Secretary of State remains of the view that your risk is unacceptably high for a transfer to open conditions."
1. The criteria for the review
2. The procedure
1. The impact the material may have on the claimant's case is relevant. Is it material that might lead to a decision on release or does it go to some other issue?
2. The practicability of dealing with material in written form is also relevant.
3. The length required for the review and the period before the next Parole Board review may also be relevant.
3. The rationality of the decisions
4. Is the application for judicial review academic?
Are there any further applications?