§ Lord Avebury
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they are aware of any case in which a favourable recommendation was made by the Parole Board for the release of a life sentence prisoner without the concurrence of the Lord Chief Justice, and the trial judge if still alive.
§ Lord Elton
Under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967, no life sentence prisoner may be released on licence except on the recommendation of the Parole Board and after consultation with the Lord Chief Justice and, if he is available, the trial judge.
Under the system in operation until the end of November 1983, it was the normal practice, at the time of review, to consult the judiciary before reference to the Parole Board in any case where there seemed real likelihood of release, but the order of consultation was not subject to an invariable rule.
Under the system introduced at the end of 1983 and referred to in reply to a Question from the noble Lord, Lord Morris, on 30th November 1983 (HL Debates, Vol. 445, cols. 787–789), the normal practice is to consult the judiciary for an initial view on the requirements of retribution and deterrence after the prisoner has been detained for about three years, and for consultation to take place again when release becomes an actual possibility. It is therefore unlikely that a case would now be referred to the Parole Board before a judicial view has been obtained.1738WA
It is not possible, without disproportionate expenditure, to identify any particular cases which may have been recommended for release by the Parole Board before consultation with the judiciary.