The Parole Board Rules 2016 r.25(1), which prohibited making information public about Parole Board proceedings, was too broad and was ultra vires the rule-making power set out in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 Pt 12 s.239(5). The Board’s decision directing the release of a Category A prisoner serving an indeterminate sentence was irrational, as the Board should have undertaken further inquiry into the circumstances of his offending, and in particular the fact that he had admitted only to the 12 sexual offences of which he had been convicted, when there were references in the dossier to “80+ potential victims” and a key issue leading to the release decision was his openness and honesty. The further inquiry would have allowed the Board to test his account.
PENOLOGY AND CRIMINOLOGY
The court determined to what extent the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 s.11(3) constrained an appellate court’s ability to replace a standard determinate sentence with a special custodial sentence for offenders of particular concern, an extended sentence, or orders under the Mental Health Act 1983. It also indicated that, in an exceptional case, the court could impose consecutive extended sentences so as to increase the potential licence period beyond the statutory maxima for the offences in question.
Application of the “multiple conviction rule” under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 art.2A(3)(c) and the Police Act 1997 s.113A and s.113B, requiring disclosure of spent convictions, resulted in an interference with ECHR art.8 which was neither in accordance with the law nor necessary in a democratic society.
A decision of the Department of Justice and Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland revoking a prisoner’s release on licence was not vitiated by irrationality where the recall to prison was plainly within the range of reasonable responses open to the official making that decision. The Department considered that the prisoner’s refusal to comply with electronic tagging requirements meant that the risk of his causing harm to the public had increased significantly, so that the test under the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 art.28(2)(b) had been met.
When considering the terms of a sexual harm prevention order, the guidance in R. v Smith (Steven)  EWCA Crim 1772 on restrictions on internet access and use remained generally sound and should continue to be followed. However, developments in technology and changes in everyday living called for an adapted and targeted approach in certain specific areas. That was especially so in relation to risk management monitoring software, cloud storage and encryption software.