On 28th March 2018 a three-judge panel of the Divisional Court gave its decision in R (DSD and Ors) v The Parole Board of England and Wales  EWHC 694 (Admin), ruling that the Parole Board’s decision to direct the release of John Worboys (the ‘black cab rapist’) should be quashed.
On 21st April 2009, John Worboys (now under the name of John Radford) was convicted of 19 serious sexual offences, including rape and sexual assault, which were committed on victims aged between 19 and 33 between October 2006 and February 2008. He was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection – specifying a minimum term of imprisonment of 8 years after which Worboys would be eligible for release if the Parole Board was satisfied that it was no longer necessary for the protection of the public for him to be held in prison.
On 26th December 2017, the Parole Board determined that incarceration was no longer necessary and directed for Worboys to be released. After much public outcry, the decision was challenged by the Mayor of London, two victims and, on a discrete aspect of the decision, a media group.
A decision to release a prisoner by the Parole Board had never been the subject of judicial review before. This is because the only parties to a hearing before the Parole Board are the Secretary of State for Justice, the Parole Board themselves and the prisoner. The proceedings are held entirely in private. To that extent, unless the Secretary of State for Justice intervened to seek judicial review of a decision by another government body, the decision was effectively unchallengeable.
Image Credit: Guardian
R (On the application of) DSD and NBV & Ors v The Parole Board of England and Wales & Ors & John Radford: in a landmark ruling, the High Court has quashed the Parole Board’s decision to release black cab driver and serial sex offender John Worboys, on grounds of irrationality. The Board acted irrationally in that it “should have undertaken further inquiry into the circumstances of his offending and, in particular, the extent to which the limited way in which he has described his offending may undermine his overall credibility and reliability” .
Goldscheider v The Royal Opera House  EWHC 687 (QB) – read judgment
The ROH has been found liable for failing to protect the hearing of its musicians and for causing acoustic shock to former viola player Chris Goldscheider. This is the first time a musical institution has been found responsible for damage to the hearing of musicians, and the first time that acoustic shock as been recognised as an injury sounding in damages. As the Media release on the judgement observed,
The decision leaves insurers for the ROH responsible for a £750,000 compensation claim, and legal costs in addition, an urgent need to re-think its policies and procedures, a possible re-design of “The Pit”, and probably claims against them by other musicians.
But the issues in this judgment were limited to breach of duty and causation of the claimant’s injury, with damages to be assessed later.
Mr Goldscheider said he had sustained acoustic shock during the course of his employment at the ROH on Saturday 1 September 2012 when the orchestra was in the pit rehearsing Wagner’s ‘Die Walküre’. As a result of the way that the conductor arranged the orchestra, the Claimant was positioned immediately in front of a group of about 18 to 20 brass players. Continue reading
David Seymour is a New Zealand MP sponsoring a Bill in support of assisted dying.
Our liberal history can be briefly sketched out in two stages. Establishing a bundle of rights and then expanding them to include a wider range of people. In one sense, the right to assisted dying is a continuation of this movement and perhaps its final chapter.
In dark ages past people had few dimensions of freedom and little self-expression. Most people had one option for spiritual thinking with severe penalties for deviance. As for choice in sexuality, the electoral franchise, freedom of speech, unless you fitted in exactly the right box, forget it.
In my maiden speech to parliament, I borrowed heavily from AC Grayling’s excellent Towards the Light of Liberty where from the Inquisition to the Reformation through the abolition of slavery, the liberation of women and expansion of the franchise, the black civil rights movement and finally the LGBTI movement, the sphere of liberty was expanded and then eventually included all people.
The British Commonwealth has long been an important institution for advancing these liberties. The Treaty of Waitangi, which established ‘the same rights and duties as citizens of England’ for all New Zealanders, was an extraordinary document for colonial times marred by arrogance and violence by colonisers. Today, the Commonwealth Charter sets out an admirable set of values that would make the world a better place if only they were universally followed. They include access to health: voluntary euthanasia is merely consistent with this value. Continue reading
Conor Monighan brings us the latest updates in human rights law
Credit: The Guardian
In the News:
The consultancy company Cambridge Analytica has come under fierce criticism for its treatment of Facebook users’ data. A whistle-blower, Christopher Wylie, alleged that Cambridge Analytica had gathered large amounts of data through a personality quiz, posted in Facebook, called ‘This is Your Digital Life’. Users were told the quiz was collecting data for research. Continue reading
In Secretary of State for the Home Department v Sergei Skripal  EWCOP 6, Mr Justice Williams made a best interests decision that blood samples could be taken by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons from Sergei and Yulia Skirpal in order that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OCPW) could undertake their own analysis to find evidence of possible nerve agents. Both Sergei and Yulia were and remain unconscious and in a critical condition, and were unable to consent to such blood samples being taken.
We have posted two new episodes of Law Pod UK today.
Episodes 25 and 27 feature extracts from the seminar given by 1 Crown Office Row in February 2018 on the lessons learned from the Paterson litigation. These are free and available for download.
Episode 26 Law Pod UK: Hannah Noyce discusses vicarious liability in private hospitals and clinics
Episode 27 Law Pod UK: Dominic Ruck Keene summarises non-delegable duty in private hospitals and clinics
Subscribe to Law Pod UK on iTunes or on Audioboom.