John Worboys’ Release Controversy
Recently it has been announced that John Worboys, a cab driver who drugged, sexually assaulted and raped more than 100 women was to be released from prison. There has been a massive backlash from the UK since people are wondering how a man so dangerous is able to leave prison.
Worryingly this comes after many other questionable decisions concerning his case. For example, his case was frequented by mistakes from the investigation made by the Metropolitan Police, and disbelieving his victims, and not fully following leads, which eventually led to an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
The judge at the trial sentenced Worboys to an indeterminate sentence for the protection of the public. This ensured that he had a minimum sentence of 8 years, after this period of time, however, he would be applicable to early release. The judge, Mr Justice Penry-Davey stated, he would be assessed by the parole board so as to make sure he was no longer a threat to society and women in particular.
It has come to light that the parole board decision was to release him on licence. Whilst it is questionable that such a violent man is to be released, the decision was made by three experienced members of the board, of which two are men and one is a woman. They came to their conclusion after examining expert evidence which pointed them towards a decision, that he was not going to be a future threat. However their exact reasoning has yet to be released to the victims, who have the right to express their concerns to the board concerning his parole, some even stated that they didn’t even know that he was eligible for release at this time. The Parole Board chief said the panel was "confident" he would not re-offend and apologised to the victims that weren’t informed that Worboys was to be released.
However it remains to be seen that there are other factors affecting this decision, for example intermediate sentences were scrapped in the UK, as they were seen as inhumane, due to prisoners not knowing when or if they were going to be released, and since the average sentence for a convicted rapist in 2009, when Worboys was sentenced at Croydon crown court, was eight years, his release was generally, from an objective viewpoint was fair.
It remains to be seen that this case has failed many of the victims continually, and this parole case is just the latest in the disrespectful treatment of rape victims. It can be seen throughout that there has been a blatant disregard for the people who Worboys affected most. Mrs Wistrich, a victim stated after she had to find out about the release via the news that; "It feels like another smack in the face, after having spent years battling for justice to (hold) the police to account for failing to investigate, that they've also not had the courtesy to inform her”. Overall it remains to be said that the case was handled badly, with a decision which was questionable and a result that has led to many women, once more feeling unsafe.