High Court quashes Parole Board refusal to recommend open conditions

Friday 21 October 2016

A successful judicial review has established that the Parole Board’s refusal to recommend the transfer of a prisoner subject to an indefinite sentence for public protection was irrational. The claimant was represented by James Mehigan of Garden Court Chambers.

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The Parole Board has been found to have acted irrationally in R (on the application of Ian Mordecai) v Parole Board [2016] EWHC 2601 (Admin). The Claimant is serving an indefinite sentence for public protection for making threats to kill. He is some three years over his two-year minimum term. The Parole Board’s decision was criticised for placing too much reliance on an old psychologist’s report when both the offender supervisor and offender manager recommended a transfer to open conditions.

Judge Elizabeth Cooke also considered the way in which the Parole Board had viewed the Claimant’s attempts at suicide. She stated that ‘the level of suicidal tendency among prisoners serving IPP is high. The reasons for that are obvious. If a Parole Board panel is to regard that very tendency as a reason not to transfer them to open conditions, the panel must take great care to explain why it takes that view’.

The refusal to recommend a transfer to open conditions was quashed and returned to the Parole Board for a fresh decision.

The case received regional media coverage.

The claimant, Ian Mordecai, was represented by James Mehigan, a member of the Garden Court Public Law and Prison Law Team. He was instructed by Malcolm Tebb of Kesar & Co Solicitors.

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