David Gauke will not challenge Parole Board on Worboys release

John Warboys

A government announcement that it will not challenge a Parole Board decision to release prolific "black cab rapist" John Worboys has been met with outrage on social media.

David Gauke, the justice secretary, told MPs he had sought legal advice on whether the decision could be challenged in the courts.

Victims as well as the mayor of London are seeking a judicial review.

The Parole Board now has a statutory duty that prevents proceedings being disclosed.

Worboys was jailed for sexually assaulting passengers in his taxi in 2007 and 2008.

Mr Gauke said there would be a wider review of how the Parole Board deals with victims.

Gauke stressed that Worboys will not be released until his licence conditions have been finalised. "Having taken and considered expert legal advice, I have decided that it would not be appropriate for me as Secretary of State to proceed with such a case". "On a personal level, candidly I share those concerns".

However victims will able to make representations over terms of his release.

The former stripper was convicted of 19 offences - one rape, five sexual assaults, one attempted assault and 12 drugging charges - and ordered to serve a minimum sentence of eight years.

For many women, the UK's criminal justice system is now on trial.

"The two women bringing the claim are doing so as they are convinced that Worboys remains a danger to women and that everything should be done to stop his imminent release".

They are crowdfunding their action and have received more than £25,000.

He said: "I have expanded the review to include whether there should be a mechanism to allow parole decisions to be reconsidered and how that might be best achieved whilst retaining the independence of the decision making process".

After taking legal advice, Gauke decided it would be inappropriate to proceed with a judicial review. A claimant must prove that the public body acted illegally or took a decision that was so irrational or perverse that nobody else would come to the same conclusion.

In November, however, the Parole Board approved Worboys' release.

"I know this will disappoint the victims in this case".

He said: "We urge everyone to support it and support the crowdfunding efforts".

Khan said it was "astonishing and extremely disappointing" that the government was not challenging his release. In fact the chair of the Parole Board has welcomed this scrutiny.

Conservative MP and former mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith for "taking the initiative".

Lawyer Richard Scorer, who represented some of the victims, said his clients were "disappointed" at the government's decision.

Gauke said he was unable to "expose detail of the legal advice" that led to his decision not to pursue a judicial review.

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