Regina (Sim) v Secretary of State for the Home Department: Admn 11 Feb 2003

The defendant had been convicted of a serious offence involving violece or sex, and been made subject to a extended sentence. He had been released on licence but recalled, and now challenged the system under which it had been decided that he should serve the balance of the first sentence.
Held: The system of extended sentences went beyond sentencing for the actual offence asking also whether there was a risk of re-offending. The parole board exercised an important public function, and made decisions with serious consequences to individuals. That this might require an assessment of the risk he posed made the decisions even more requiring of fairness. Where however further information came to light which suggested that there was a risk, then it was proper to recall a prisoner. There was no severance of the causal link with the original sentence, and the factor which caused the re-assessment need not be an offence of the same type as that whch gave rise to the sentence. A parole board could receive hearsay evidence.
Elias J spoke of the purpose of extended sentences: ”In such cases the object of the sentence is not to subject the prisoner to detention for the extended licence period, and indeed frequently when such sentences are imposed there would be no power at that stage to detain the prisoner in custody for that period. The aim of the sentence is to manage the risk in the community rather than in prison, albeit that it is recognised that it may be necessary to resort to further detention if that aim fails. The offender is not on licence as an alternative to prison; rather he is on licence as an alternative to liberty . . Once the prison sentence imposed by the court has been served, once cannot say that the sentencing court had it in mind that the offender should be detained unless it was shown that he was no longer a danger. The presumption implicit in the sentence passed is that during the extension period the offender need not be in custody.’ and ‘To have a presumption, therefore, that detention is justified after recall during the extension period is contrary to article 5. No court has decided, prior to matter being dealt with by the Parole Board, that detention is necessary during that period. The executive will be definition have taken that view, since it has decided to recall the offender, but that is not enough for compliance with article 5. As Elias J said, at para 54, the board should not be required to start from the premise that the executive’s assessment was correct. It is something about which the Parole Board itself should be satisfied.’


Elias J


Times 21-Feb-2003, Gazette 03-Apr-2003, [2003] EWHC 152 (Admin), [2003] 2 WLR 1374, [2004] QB 1288




European Convention on Human Rights 5, Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentences) Act 2000 85

Cited by:

Appeal fromRegina (Sim) v Parole Board CA 18-Dec-2003
The prisoner had been sentenced to an extended term of five years imprisonment for indecent assault. He had been released, and then recalled for alleged breaches of his licence. The respondent appealed findings that such a recall was subject to . .
CitedO v Crown Court at Harrow HL 26-Jul-2006
The claimant said that his continued detention after the custody time limits had expired was an infringement of his human rights. He faced continued detention having been refused bail because of his arrest on a grave charge, having a previous . .
Appeal fromSecretary of State for the Home Department v Sim and The Parole Board CA 19-Dec-2003
The prisoner was subject to an extended sentence, and had been recalled to prison. He now complained that the recall procedure had infringed his human rights. . .
CitedChater, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice and Another Admn 2-Aug-2010
The claimant sought judicial review of his treatment after recall to prison from licence. He had a history of the sexual abuse of children. A police surveillance report had been rejected by the Parole Board, but they had nevertheless continued his . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Prisons, Evidence

Updated: 07 June 2022; Ref: scu.179543