Regina v Parole Board, ex Parte Watson: CA 11 Mar 1996

The test as to whether there was still a need to protect the public safety from the defendant was just as appropriate when considering the revocation of a licence, as it was when the need for continued detention was being reviewed before the grant of the licence: ‘In exercising its practical judgment the Board is . . balancing the hardship and injustice of continuing to imprison a man who is unlikely to cause serious injury to the public against the need to protect the public against a man who is not unlikely to cause such injury. In other than a clear case this is bound to be a difficult and very anxious judgment. But in the final balance the Board is bound to give preponderant weight to the need to protect innocent members of the public against any significant risk of serious injury.’ The Parole Board, in exercising this very important function, is an independent and impartial tribunal for purposes of article 6(1) of the European Convention. It is the primary decision-maker, and is not entitled to defer to the opinion of the Secretary of State or a probation officer.
Sir Thomas Bingham MR
Times 11-Mar-1996, [1996] EWCA Crim 44, [1996] 1 WLR 906
Criminal Justice Act 1991 39
England and Wales
Appeal fromRegina v Parole Board, Ex Parte Watson QBD 22-Nov-1995
The test for whether or not to recall a lifer who was free on licence is the same test as was used for his release, namely whether his detention was required for the protection of the public. . .

Cited by:
CitedRoberts v Parole Board CA 28-Jul-2004
The discretionary life-prisoner faced a parole board. The Secretary of State wished to present evidence, but wanted the witness to be protected. The Parole Board appointed special counsel to hear the evidence on behalf of the prisoner on terms that . .
CitedRegina v Parole Board ex parte Smith, Regina v Parole Board ex parte West (Conjoined Appeals) HL 27-Jan-2005
Each defendant challenged the way he had been treated on revocation of his parole licence, saying he should have been given the opportunity to make oral representations.
Held: The prisoners’ appeals were allowed.
Lord Bingham stated: . .
CitedMcClean, Re HL 7-Jul-2005
The appellant was serving a life sentence for terrorist offences. He complained that he should have been released under the 1998 Act. It was said he would be a danger to the public if released. On pre-release home leave he was involved in a . .
CitedRoberts v Parole Board HL 7-Jul-2005
Balancing Rights of Prisoner and Society
The appellant had been convicted of the murder of three police officers in 1966. His tariff of thirty years had now long expired. He complained that material put before the Parole Board reviewing has case had not been disclosed to him.
Held: . .
CitedRegina (Gulliver) v Parole Board CA 4-Jul-2007
The claimant had been released on licence, and recalled. He complained that the parole board had, in considering his re-release taken into account circumstances beyond those which had directly caused his recall.
Held: The prisoner’s appeal . .
CitedBrooke and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v The Parole Board and Another CA 1-Feb-2008
The claimant prisoner complained that the Parole Board was insufficiently independent of government to provide a fair hearing. The court at first instance had found that the relationship between the Parole Board and the sponsoring Department put the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 10 April 2021; Ref: scu.88585