Dominic Raab wants the government to be given the power to veto parole board decisions in a crackdown on the release of dangerous criminals.
The Minister of Justice will announce a thorough review of the law parole systemwhich include plans that could allow him to override the parole board “in the most high profile and sensitive cases of murder, rape, terrorism and ‘those who caused or permitted the death of a child,'” he said The Telegraph.
It will be the board’s “biggest shock” in its 54-year history and is intended to prevent repeat scandals, including the release of double child killer Colin Pitchfork and an abandoned decision to free a black-cab rapist John Worboyssaid the newspaper.
Up to 100 criminals could be prevented from being released under the plans. Officials will sift through “more than 600 cases” a year where the Parole Board has recommended release to identify cases that could be reviewed by the Attorney General, who could then veto the decision and jail the offenders.
The move will restore powers to block the release of high-risk criminals, once held by ministers but removed after legal challenges in Europe and the UK found it violated the human rights of prisoners, politicians rather than judges allow for the determination of sentences.
Raab hopes the review will allow the Justice Department “to focus on protecting the public — rather than the rights of offenders — by offering more specific guidance on when prisoners should be released,” he wrote The Independent.
“The safety of the public is the first duty of government and the British people expect us to keep dangerous criminals behind bars for as long as necessary to protect them. I am not satisfied that our approach is as robust as it needs to be, which is why I will present plans to restore public confidence in the system,” added the justice minister.
Victims will also be granted the right to attend full parole hearings for the first time, “as established in the 2019 Conservative Party Manifesto,” it said Sky news. The parole board must also consider submissions from victims, and they may ask questions in the submissions.
Legal challenges likely
Raab is likely to legally challenge his plans, however, as a senior justice source fears the state will “act not only as prosecutor but also as judge and jury.”
Ministers have taken legal advice and are “confident” they will be able to pursue out-of-court appeals to prevent the new powers from coming into force, The Telegraph reported. But a legal source has warned that giving politicians the power to play a role in sentencing could jeopardize the independence of the judiciary.
“We’re going to get into a position where prosecutors are going to indict someone, but they want to make sure they have someone on the jury to make the verdict they want,” the source said.
“This interferes with the independence of the judiciary. It will need primary legislation and I don’t see how that would solve the problem [the state] want to be effective judge, jury and executioner”.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/crime/956262/dominic-raabs-power-of-veto-for-dangerous-criminals-explained Dominic Raab’s Dangerous Criminal ‘Right of Veto’ Explained